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Designer's Most Significant Ability Is Context Definition

Posted on: 14 abr 2013

Expanding the notion of what it means to be a designer.

Designers most significant ability is to understand multiple contexts and, therefore, identify constraints. 

Designers are strategics that translate strategy into action. Design thinking-in-action.

The most important skill needed in most design fields is context understanding.
In a problem-solving oriented practice as design,it is vital understanding the context to identifying the constraints and limitations: It is a MUST if the final goal is to take an idea and make it real. So businesses are turning to designers when they want to find something new.

"Great designers bring ideas to life that will align the right solution to the concrete problem: To come up with the adequate solution, first you need to framed the context and its constraints..."

What is a failed design? The one that doesn't  work to solve the problem or request. It might be beautiful, espectacular, super-innovative... but if it's not the right solution for this particular situation, it is a failed design.

"The realization of a mature designer is that the act of making does not matter unless it is considered within the context that it exists". John Maeda  
Design With No Constraints Is Not Design. Identifying the right constraints that would provide the right strategy is vital.  What is design with no constraints? Is art.

I would say that mature designers, as Maeda pointed, are problem solving experts in multiple contextsTo take a more holistic view of how designers work, beyond the focus on the craft and the aesthetics, it's meaningful to point out how designers think -design thinking- and methodology which helps them cope with being THROWN into a situation/context as OUTSIDERS, understand what's the problem and their capacity to catalyzed the insights gathered into creative outcomes.

Design is one of the most empathic professions by necessity, because its own practice and its sucess is about understanding other professional practices and their intrinsic problems. (And their professionals and their particular idiosincracy).

"People who know a lot about a field seldom think to question the fundamentals of their knowledge". It is by questioning the obvious that we make great progress. This is where breakthroughs come from. We need to question the obvious, to reformulate our beliefs, and to redefine existing solutions, approaches, and beliefs. That is design thinking"Don Norman  

Designers are strategists able to translate strategy into action:
So businesses are turning to designers when they want to find something new. 

Design thinking is an essential business strategy. When deciding where to play and how to win, it's totally necessary to have framed and understood the context and the constraints...therefore, its opportunities.
Designers use data, metrics, product flows, and conversion funnels to understand contexts, observe behaviors and empathize with users... and art and aesthethics...and altogether is a great help to opening up new markets, reconfiguring existing ones and envision what would come next.

[Image: "Indonesia" film poster]

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