One of my "kids" asked me what IS a designer...

Its a good question, and I took it to mean a consumer product designer (as apposed to artist) and gave him my answer. I will post what I think, but figured to let others have their say first (mellowing in my old age…nawww). So what is the definition of a Designer (consumer product).

someone who tries to make products better or as good they can be in terms of the look, feel, usability. =)

I assume the question was posed more in relation to what makes you a professional product designer rather than What Is ID? or What Does an Industrial Designer Do?

ya what makes you a pro…

An industrial designer is a person who determines the physical form of an object by measuring the necessary attributes of performance, cost, and materials against the requirements and desires of the user, and striking an aesthetically pleasing balance.

What is an Industrial Designer or what should they be? There are so many different categories and products trying to do different things it is hard to sum up but here is my 2 cents: We should be creating solutions to peoples problems or desires within product. Making the consumer’s life easier and or more enjoyable. Meeting or suceeding their wants and or needs. A succesful product may be something a consumer may never even think about when they use it. We may try to make product that is: cheaper, lighter, faster, better performing, more earth friendly, better looking, etc.

nope missed the point again, there are plenty of threads that define what an industrial designer does, and all that lot, this is about what ushers you forth from the safety of academia into the “real world” of professional designers.

One sign is that people actually want to pay you. While that may make you a professional, it doesn’t automatically mean you are good.

ya what makes you a pro…

I think I felt like a pro when I stopped thinking I knew everything about design and esp design for business. At that point, with much searching and self doubt I realized that I was really jamming and that my customers, people I worked with, respected the product of my labor and expertise. It was at the time that I felt like I was on cruise control and realized that I could really make just about anything as long as it met the criteria and needs of those customers. At that point I started to feel really lame because it became quite automatic. I won’t say I lost the joy in design but it was definately different than right out of school. As time progressed I think I became more pro because of the questioning and the self doubt and wondering if I really knew what the hell I was doing or saying. When I stopped thinking I knew the answers design work became more rewarding, inspired and spot on appropriate for the user or market.

I think you become pro when you take “you” out of the design equation.

ya what makes you a pro…

I think I felt like a pro when I stopped thinking I knew everything about design and esp design for business. At that point, with much searching and self doubt I realized that I was really jamming and that my customers, people I worked with, respected the product of my labor and expertise. It was at the time that I felt like I was on cruise control and realized that I could really make just about anything as long as it met the criteria and needs of those customers. At that point I started to feel really lame because it became quite automatic. I won’t say I lost the joy in design but it was definately different than right out of school. As time progressed I think I became more pro because of the questioning and the self doubt and wondering if I really knew what the hell I was doing or saying. When I stopped thinking I knew the answers design work became more rewarding, inspired and spot on appropriate for the user or market.

I think you become pro when you take “you” out of the design equation.

I always say that I can create any 3D object that is not architecture. Usually offering up examples such as airplanes, footwear, electronics, apparel, tools…

airplanes? so your a aeronatuical engineer?

buggered by the definition/categorization.
was surfing net when I came upon a incredible piece of furniture that caught my eye, despite having been in several notorious design shows/exhibitions, all publicity kept referencing it as “craft”.
Not trying to get hung up on semantics, but what draws the line?

does it even matter at all? does it affect your status in the industry?

(coming from a background that has less to do with technical engineering)

What is Design? This is a very broad question and is one that I think not only is asked by our kids but also by our peers in the corporate world. I feel that design is anything that influence peoples lives. Whether that is making their live easier, making them feel better about themselves, or just plain creates something people enjoy using.

As a package design I feel that design is all about human interaction. A big part of my job is giftable packaging. This means that not only do I need to make that package appeal to the buyer but also to the person that will be receiving to the gift. The interesting part of this is that when the buyer buys that gift and gives it to another person it then says something about the buyer. This means that if the package is cheap then that means the buyer is cheap. I imagine this is the same with shoes. When someone buys a pair of shoe in a way it says something about that person. It shows what kind of style they are into and in a way tells a little bit about their personality. I find it amazing that we have that kind of control over that kind of human inter action.

By the way I think it is really cool your kids are asking these kinds of questions. I hope mine do when I have kids.

by “kids” i mean aa few I mentor…dont have (and will never) have any little rug rats.

Ahhh. Well still a cool question.

in my eyes,

a designer is a person that can understand the life of a project and bring a final project that doesnt have to be explained. sure you can have “proper” training but some people have a better eye and perception of what a “product” can be and perform.

i think there’s toooo much bullshyt in certain design fields that hold people back in performing in a way that they can perform. sure college training is good/etc…but i know a few people that graduated and work on a design team and have no talent what so ever…

places tend to gauge you on the typical ladder rating… but some talented people look at projects and approach problems differently.