While I naturally ask myself many questions around ‘What design is today’ and ‘The impact of design thinking for businesses and design’, these must of course be considered hand-in-hand with ‘Who and what is the designer of today*?’ … not in a philosophical sense, but I am keen to consider and investigate the particular dimensions and characteristics that different designers possess and how they vary across genres.

*So as not to confuse, I’ll set the control volume of my discussion to be designers that are more in the digital and strategic realm as opposed to those that work in more established and craft orientated design fields. Equally I am not including those people that are just/only ‘human-centred thinkers’ (at the other end), but I will be using them both as reference points.

The anatomy of a diagram I’ve taken and simplified (all design and) designers to embody 4 key capability traits:

Business understanding- in terms of knowledge around business, strategic design applied to business, design thinking, and holistic human centred problem solving. Psychology– the ability to understand and empathise with humans. To look at ergonomics (cognitive) and create solutions that are driven by and align with human behaviour and emotion. Problem Solving [Function] — the ability to create and structure a product or process so as to deliver a desired outcome to the problem or question set. Normally a manifestation of a methodological approach to change inputs into desired outputs.

Craft [Form]– the ability to create physical and visual artefacts with a comprehension (and perhaps mastery) of colour, contrast, type, feature, shape, balance, material and manufacture. These dimensions whilst different, are not necessarily orthogonal — in that e.g. Psychology of course does entail some degree problem solving. I am just seeing /positioning them each as unique enough from the others to be a discrete skill.