Since the launch of the Apple app store in 2008 graphic design has been going through a lot of exciting changes. The rise of modern UI, UX, and digital product design has extended the range of what we do. Now there is design thinking, service design, design research, and most recently, scaling design across companies with DesignOps. Design is no longer seen as purely a ‘production resource’, it is becoming a ‘business resource’ now that it has ‘a seat at the table’. All of this raises the bar for the skills you need as a designer, and how modern designers should be trained.
But there is another interesting dynamic at play. People from non-design backgrounds are moving into design. They are adding design to what they already know, in the process becoming t-shaped individuals. What does this mean for designers that studied design and only worked as designers? It means that they are competing against people who are increasingly t-shaped that potentially bring different perspectives and thinking to their design work.
What can designers do to remain relevant amid these rapid shifts in what is means to be a designer? These are my suggestions:
- get closer to the tech, learn more about front-end development
- develop a maker mindset, explore 3-D printing and on-demand manufacturing
- get foundational knowledge in data science, machine learning, analytics, this is important because design is becoming more data driven
- learn about behavioural science, psychology, and sociology
- learn about business, business models, profit margins, look at a website or an app as a business person would look at it.
Organise lunch and learns, write blogs to create learning cultures around these topics at your company. Exciting times if you are prepared to take action and learn something new and bring it into your thinking and process.