Notdesign – what you don’t know

Maynard B

Notdesign – what you don’t know’ only concerns real life; not some perfect studio, perfect client or perfect career path. These are all a fiction. Imperfection is what makes our jobs and our output as designers interesting.

It turns out that plenty of other designers continue to have imperfect career paths. I’m lucky enough to have worked with a fair few ‘used to be’s’ – designers who at one time or another ‘used to be’ something else.

These people have a greater degree of empathy with the Notdesign world than those of us who’ve only ever worked in this industry. What they know is being a Notdesigner, and familiarity with Notdesign is really, really important when it comes to understanding People.
Unlike products of Design Driven Development it’s not so easy to think of a Notdesigned physical product – a fantastic piece of design but from the desk of a Notdesigner. These are problems solved by empathy and insight.

Empathy and insight – surely these are both key tools in the designers’ toolbox? Well, yes, but if all you’ve ever known is Alessi, Braun, Dyson, and Apple, then it’s likely you won’t have seen things from a Notdesign perspective.

Notdesigners aren’t designers, they’re usually very capable thinkers and problem solvers. Unfortunately designers are biased. Our decisions are effected to a greater or lesser extent by our design-lead past; we require research.

The UCD process has provided the footings for a design process to flourish across all creative channels. The Design industry started to bridge the Notdesign gap, and has continued to lead the way in collaborating with Notdesigners.

As the myriad monikers and acronyms of the Design profession(s) are adopted, amalgamated and in some cases diluted and reattributed, it’s time to recognise the insight that Notdesigners bring to the design conversation. Involving clients and their users directly in the design process only makes for more robust products and services.

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