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What is a Designer?

A designer is a business professional who develops solutions to commercial needs that require the balancing of technical, commercial, human and aesthetic requirements.

A designer can be said to be both technician and artist.

A designer plans things for manufacture or construction. The difference between a designer and a craftsperson or artist is that designers usually develop things that have requirements set by others and will ultimately be produced by others.

Design serves industry

Design is a commercial activity. Professional design grew out of a need for skilled individuals who could plan products and environments that would appeal to customers. An essential part of design is the preparation of plans and instructions that will allow for the accurate production of the design by others rather than the designer also performing the production task.

Defining design

Design is a widely used word. It is applied to any process where an outcome is being planned rather than relying on chance. So people in all sorts of occupations speak of designing aspects of their business activities. In many cases they are using the word as a synonym for plan.

Design is also a term used by technical professionals such as engineers or software developers. These professionals must reconcile the technical and commercial requirements of projects.

The fundamental difference between the two preceding examples and the definition of design as applied by design professionals represented by the Design Institute of Australia is the skill of incorporating the human, cultural and aesthetic aspects of projects.

Rational creativity

The requirements that a designer works to are both objective and subjective. The objective requirements are easy to understand. They are technical and business requirements that allow for measurement and direct comparison. How much will it cost? What is the best material? When can it be finished by?

It’s the subjective, creative side of design that’s hardest to explain and hardest for most people to understand. The aesthetic side of design relates to fashion, human behaviour, emotion and cultural influences such as the cultural meaning of symbols.

Designers are immersed in the visual language of their culture and industry specialisation.

Designers bring human and cultural values to business problems, values that sell products and services, create demand and inspire customer confidence and loyalty.

Design is a planning process. It produces the best solution based on the stated business objectives and the information and resources available. It uses a methodical procedure to ensure that solutions are well thought out and all the known criteria for success are considered.

Design as a strategic business tool

Design is a strategic tool used to gain market advantage by companies operating at an international level. Their products, their branding, their promotion and their business premises are all designed to maximise customer acceptance of the goods and services they have to offer and to optimise the day to day operation of their business.

The benefits of design are also available to national and local businesses. The process can always be tailored to the resources available. However the available resources will limit the viable design solutions.

Specialist designers for all industries

There are professional designers that provide a balance of technical and subjective skills that match the business needs of many industry areas. Whether you manufacture furniture, provide banking, build cars or sell wine there is a design professional who can help you improve your business.

Design skilfully bridges technical and marketing requirements to put sizzle into a product, desire into a promotion or confidence into an interior.

Working for you and your customer

Designers must balance the needs of their employers with the needs of the intended users of the design. These are often the employer’s customers.

If the design doesn’t meet the needs or desires of the end user, rather than just the commissioner of the work, then sales will be compromised.

In addition designers must reconcile their own standards of aesthetics, quality and ethics with the requirements of the intended commercial purpose of their work. Both designer and client should also consider community values and constraints.

Designers have the skills to increase the market acceptance and profitability of your products, premises and services.

Professional designers bring to your project extensive training and a wealth of experience. Use their expertise and product knowledge to expand your ideas, solve problems, offer unique solutions, save time and money.

Design embodies the full range of problem solving skills from those that are strictly rational, analytical and objective to those that are inspirational, artistic and subjective.


Design Disciplines

Industrial Design

Interior Design

Interior Decoration

Graphic Design

Textile Design

Exhibition and Display Design

Fashion Design

TV, Film and Set Design

Design Management

Design Education

Jewellery Design

Furniture Design

Digital Media

Other Disciplines

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