5 Myths of Design that don’t apply today!

Design is a relatively new field compared to Art. But with new technology and changing world there are 5 things that I learned (and later taught) at D-school which seem to have lost their relevance in today’s world and have become “Old School”.

1. If you can’t draw it, you can’t make it.

Nothing can be a bigger myth. This seemingly innocent statement that teachers use to encourage their fresh pupils to practice more drawing has lost its relevance compared to the Corel and Rhino equipped generation of today. Not only is hand drawing a skill that is used less and less, most exploratory work is done hands on or with CAM, rather than on paper.

2. Don’t use eraser, Don’t use scale.

Another Myth. It was fine till the first few lessons of drawings. Or in the era when you had ample time to sit and sketch endlessly by hand and communicate hand drawn designs. But beyond that, a clear representation of ideas is more important and so if it requires eraser and scale, so be it. Afterall it’s a now a “pre-sketch” for your CAD .

3. It should be your original idea.

It times of Co-creation, collaborative projects and open innovation; an individuals idea may be lacking compared to the richness a project gets from collaborative work which is designed by a community. A single individuals contribution could be worked upon and made better by others as well and no one person takes credit for the entire process. To think of it, an idea is only successful if others also believe in it!

4. Follow the process. Show the process.

While it may be a great idea to show a process in order to explain your final design to an international jury for getting an award and for other such events, Design methods can be very limiting and restraining, unless you allow them to be iterative and continuous. Most common people are not equipped to understand a design method, they can only appreciate the result and you can bring that to them any which way.

5. It’s all in the presentation

In a world of presentation , this is an understatement. The presentation is not a separate activity. It is not something you do afterwards, after the design process has ended. The presentation IS the design and part of the process and you don’t need to do many things to justify it if what you came up with is a great product!


Designing the Manager or Managing the designer?


Often we hear the term Manager. Often we hear the profile “Designer”. Then there are the Designer Managers, a breed fast growing with the need of the industry to self structure. Senior management and HR try to fill this gap generally from the marketing or retail side, which they feel are better equipped at handling the management activities. But is it always effective?

Creative people are generally assumed to be Right brained. which means that their creative appreciation, sense of intuition is much stronger than that of the Left brained, who are supposed to be stronger in their sense of logic, analytical reasoning and deduction.

At design school, we were emphasized to use “both” the sides of the brain. through a technique called Lateral thinking propagated by Edward Bono. At the end of 3-4 years, designers were deemed capable to think both the creative as well as the logical. However, that is not the case with management graduates. They are given  negligible training for creative thinking. While Design students are able to learn the principles of management by the click of a button through online and various other sources, its much tougher for a person with a management background to have the same experience online for learning creative skills.

Some may argue that management needs creativity and it is indeed so. Only a fertile mind is capable of applying theory to action and taking decisive action and making decisions from larger sets of problems. But for design students, making decisions and good decision is the only reality. Therefore it gets much easier for them to rely on their intuitive sense with applying logical principles.

While lots of design schools have started providing some amount of management thinking in design curriculum, the choice of subjects is debatable.

At the end, to be a design manager one needs both the gift of creativity( Right brain thinking) as well as a logical deduction (Left brain thinking) to reach solutions to problems. And that species is the rarest of the rare!