An overview of my design philosophy.

Published 02.10.2022

Designers are makers, thinkers, and learners.

Thinking Through Making

When we are able to engage in hands-on learning, we become better thinkers. Making encourages trial and error, learning through doing, and rapid iteration in order to craft objects, tell stories, and design experiences. An idea is just an idea unless it can be communicated effectively and compellingly to others, and that may take the form of physical objects, digital interfaces, spatial representations, or more. But the end goal is to use the act of making as a vessel for insight and impact.

Making collapses the divide between theory and practice. Theory derived from lectures and discussions should not exist in a vacuum; rather, it should be applied and integrated to their projects and practice beyond academia. The iterative process of bouncing back and forth between thinking and making allows for the emergence of new logic and solutions. This duality between creation and reflection is incredibly important for intentional design and acquiring embodied knowledge.

Cultivating Growth

In order to collaborate with others and transcend disciplinary boundaries, it is crucial to cultivate growth in two interpretations of the word. Carol Dweck, the American psychologist who developed and studies the theory of “fixed mindsets” and “growth mindsets,” illustrates how our self-conceptions impact achievement and interpersonal progress. In this first interpretation of the word, growth is a term that encourages designers to embrace challenges, learn from critique, and understand that consistent effort leads to success. It is a belief that one’s intelligence is not static or fixed, but rather developed and grown.

The second interpretation of growth is in reference to cultivating a breadth of knowledge. In design, scalability and public impact are key measures of success. In order to achieve these, it’s not only important to have a diverse knowledge base, but also to be able to use said knowledge to engage other people in discussion or even change behaviors. When designers learn beyond their discipline, they can then begin to draw upon differing viewpoints to create meaningful connections and understand what motivates people to listen and empathize, while minimizing friction or frustration.

Building Adaptability

To learn design is to learn how to adapt. With the rapid advancement and invention of new technologies and softwares, it is almost fruitless to master specific hard skills that may become obsolete in a matter of years. Instead, it is more effective to learn how to adapt to tools and mediums that are emerging from an ever-changing and ever-growing world. Design looks drastically different than it did five, ten, twenty years ago due to the development of new technologies and applications.

We tinker with our hands to shape ideas, collect and synthesize knowledge, and experiment with new ways of doing. Designers help inform and craft the present in order to create better futures.