Designing with Your Head, Heart and Hands

brynWhen you look at the creative industry over the past few decades, the changes we have witnessed are amazing. What was once a profession based only in print and media is now a profession that touches virtually ever aspect of daily life. Consumers require more stimulation and expect to see strong visual representation and functionality. Our clients look to us to take their products to market and expect a high return on investment.

Last week my guest on “Talk Story with Jeni” was the brilliant Bryn Mooth. As the editor for HOW Magazine for the past decade, Bryn has been an important part of the design industry and been responsible for promoting, reporting and affecting this field. During our conversation, we talked about the changing persona of designers and breaking down how it is they perform their jobs. We both agreed that we were seeing more ‘head and heart’ from designers than ever before. Not only that but a return to the use of their ‘hands’.

The ‘head’ of design refers to the strategy and thinking that has become increasingly important in the production of relevant design. We have all heard over and over the importance of looking at the business of design, of creating business solutions not just visually appealing campaigns. Whether graphic, informational, or environmental design must be more than logically connected to the service or product, it must be able to generate tangible results (i.e. revenue). The top design thinkers in the industry are forging the way towards design teams becoming partners in providing business solutions. Given this ‘heady’ approach, veteran designers are going to have to remain relevant and new designers are going to have to be a step ahead in embracing strategic thinking.

‘Heart’ refers to the passion with which designers approach their work. It seems this is an element that comes easily to most designers and is at least one reason they entered the field in the first place. But finding the motivation to stay inspired is often challenging and often discussed at length (that is another topic all together). You can’t help but admire, and rightfully so, those professionals that have a talent for ‘visual-ness’ and a zeal for taking on the challenge of creating recognizable business solutions.

For years now we have seen what I believe was a departure from true craftsmanship. It was apparent in the world of photography with the introduction of digital cameras and printing, and it was rampant in the design field with the technological advances in digital production and the Internet. It is so exciting to see a return to hands-on design or what Bryn referred to as ‘hands’. Manual binding, letterpress and so many other forms of old school design processes are making a return and it is wonderful to see the melding of the old and the new!

Over time we see the pendulum swing back and forth. We gain new abilities and see new priorities often losing sight of the old ways and the processes we know are tried and true. I always let out a sigh of relief when I see the pendulum swing back to a place of balance. In this case, seeing the renewed enthusiasm for the use of  ‘head, heart and hands’ is a great place for design to reside. Thanks to Bryn Mooth for taking time to talk story!

Click here for a full hour of “Talk Story with Jeni” and Bryn.

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