Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Are you a Designer?

Do you call yourself a designer? This month’s focus and advice will be on people who want to become designers. I have enjoyed my sessions in class last month discussing with my students on how best they can be creative and clear the ‘mental blog’.

First and foremost let us define who is a designer, my own definition is, a designer is someone who creates, innovates with the purpose of communicating to a particular audience or by meeting some set objectives.

From, a designer is person who designs. More formally, a designer is an agent that "specifies the structural properties of a design object"[1]. In practice, anyone who creates tangible or intangible objects, such as consumer products, processes, laws, games and graphics, is referred to as a designer.

Using the word designer is a bit ambiguous because it has a wide range of meanings. By looking at different types of designers out there we will be able to define the designers in a more specific aspect without generalizing. Here are examples of designers;
  • Fashion designers
  • Web designers
  • Interior designers
  • Outdoor designers
  • Furniture designer etc.

Design by itself is beyond the scope of this article but let us look at what are the common denominators of designers, what do they put into consideration within their work.

First and foremost before we look at personal traits of designers we have the following, Element of design and Principles of design as the guiding fundamentals for all designers.

Element of design.
  • Line
  • Shape
  • Color
  • Space
  • Direction
  • Size
  • Texture
  • Value
Principle of design.
  • Unity
  • Proximity
  • Perspective
  • Visual Hierarchy
  • Symmetry / Asymmetry
  • Repetition
  • Contrast
  • Dynamics
  • Emphasis
  • Dominance
  • Harmony
As a designer you have to put the above in mind when designing anything, you don’t need a degree or a diploma to start using them, these are vital in design field but it not a must to put them all in a composition.

How do designers source for inspiration? This is a common question amongst junior designers. I shall share with you how I get ideas and get inspired to be creative and open the ‘mental blocks’.
The following is what I do;
  • Learning about the environment
  • The visual communication ( seeing more than an ordinary person)
  • Translate other concept to my own ideas.
  • Learn from other peoples work.
  • Learn from other designers not necessary in my field.
  • Learn from books, magazines, TV, Movies etc. Multimedia
  • Put myself in the position of the target audience and try to see if the designer did it right.

Martin a fine artist at the Go Down art Center giving lectures at one of my sessions.

NairoBits students paying attention to Martin teachings.
Soon I will help Martin run a personal blog, thanks a lot Martin you are a inspiration to many and your lesson was great.