Design education needs more focus on developing soft skills in their freshly minted designers. Every time I teach a class I try to spend time talking about the more intangible bits relating to a career in this field: how I operate day-to-day as a designer, life in a working studio, etc. By and large these are the things that many of these students gravitate towards and seem to be really engaged by.
There are simply a lot of intangibles that designers don’t necessarily learn as they are developing fundamental design and technical skills. While these young designers need time to establish basic design and technical skills, if they spend several years in a classroom environment with academics who don’t really work in a professional environment anymore, there is a lot of practical knowledge that can be left on the table. These are the gaps I think are important to fill in when there’s an opportunity.
There are simply a lot of the intangibles that designers don’t necessarily learn as they are developing fundamental design and technical skills.
There’s something about exploring the more nebulous areas of this field that I find extremely fascinating. Questions like:
- How do we develop “style”?
- Where do we look for freelance work?
- How do designers and developers work well together?
- Why is it important to have a contract for all the client work I do?
- And why is it important to even ask and answer questions like these?
These are all at the gooey center of the design profession. These are the things I love to think about, explore, and broaden minds with.