Design is How it Works

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As each year comes to an end, I tend to look back at the top stories that made the headlines. Sadly, this year we lost visionary Steve Jobs. As is often the case, we come to appreciate some of these iconic figures more once they’re gone; and the legacy and words they leave behind become more resonant and meaningful. Among the many words that Jobs spoke, none have a greater impact on our profession than the following:

“Design is not just what it looks and feels like. Design is how it works.”

I honestly can’t think of a better way to describe our roles as graphic designers and our significant place in society.

Over my past 13 years as a designer, I am asked this question in social situations more than any other: “What do you do for a living?” And inevitably the most frequent words I hear are: “That sounds like fun; you get to play around in the computer.” As a rookie, I found this reaction frustrating. But I quickly learned that these situations were a great opportunity to educate people on what we do.

Graphic designers are above all visual communicators. Whether we carry this out through print or web, our job is to visually represent ideas and messages. We carefully analyze our target audience, what works and doesn’t work for users, and the content and message we want to deliver. In the end, a visually pleasing piece that is equally functional is our ultimate goal. Personally, my proudest moments as a professional designer have been the ones where we take on a challenging project, implement a strategy and the results have contributed to increased exposure and profit to our client.

Thank you, Steve, for illuminating the fact that design adds credibility to the products and services that we help market.

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