I didn’t set out to be a graphic designer or a designer of any kind, really. Truthfully, I was in college before I even heard the term or saw the career possibility. I wasn’t an artist or an illustrator. I was a communicator who used words to make a difference.
In my first career as a communications specialist, I wrote and sent my words out for another to visualize. But the materials always came back lacking. The meaning was lost between the visual and the verbal. It was then that I first saw the true value of design as a way to communicate and impact change. I began to see that even the best words were lost if the visuals didn’t align and the audience didn’t respond. And so began my pursuit of design.
At its simplest definition, design means to plan or create. I read recently in The Design Way by Harold Nelson & Erik Stoltermann that everything we have is either created by nature or designed by people. Humankind doesn’t just haphazardly make discoveries; they design their world. Design is what makes us human. It’s what allows us to express our creativity and solve human problems, both big and small.
Design is also integration or bringing things together. It’s about the integration of words and images; of theory and practice; of observation and action.
Design is practical, creative problem solving. It has the potential to change systems, to bring unification and to make meaningful impacts in business, health care, social services, and the list goes on and on. But design, or rather design thinking, can only make an impact if we allow it. We must pursue it and invest in the next generation of designers to lead the way.
Design is integrated into everything we do from the way we communicate to the way we take in an experience. Today, we’re faced with many human problems, both big and small, and the world is changing around us faster than we could have imagined just six months ago. When the world changes, design should lead the way.
How might we use design to make significant changes in our world?
As we look for ways to continue to connect people, to reach across the aisles and to build a better tomorrow, it is my hope that we’ll look to design, and to the design thinkers, to create new systems, new policies, and new ways of thinking that will lead us into a stronger future.
Learn more about the impact you could make when you learn graphic design, web design, motion graphics, design thinking and more in the UB Master of Arts in Integrated Design program at the Universities at Shady Grove.
Join me for an upcoming virtual information session on Tuesday, June 30 at 6:30 p.m. RSVP here.