Artist… Creative… Designer? I have been referred to by all three of these descriptions and, to be honest, I am not sure that I fully understood the distinction when I was young. I expressed my creativity through visual art. Being gifted in visual art was a real leg up when I went to architecture school. My skills allowed me to communicate my design ideas visually with greater ease than many of my classmates. Consequently, the lines blurred in my own mind between the three labels.
Today, more than ever, it is important for designers to be clear about what they do and what they have to offer to society. Yes, designers are creative, but being trained as a designer means, at its core, being trained as a creative problem solver. Designers come in many different types: industrial designers, architects, user experience designers, and commercial interior designers, to name but a few. The essential skill that unites these disciplines is design thinking: the creative problem solving process.
The role of the designer in business is expanding as designers become trusted advisors in the development of services in our service based economy. Over the last decade, service design has become an emerging design discipline. With the merging of products and services, and the greater emphasis on customer experience, many companies are turning to service designers to help them stay on the cutting edge.
Businesses and other organizations are beginning to realize that design can be a powerful brand distinction. And not just the design of a company’s products, but the design of the way the company interacts with its customers. Companies’ like Herman Miller and Ritz-Carlton Hotels have employed the disciplines of design thinking and service design to reposition themselves in their fields – keeping them on the cutting edge.
Service designers are helping companies redefine their value proposition through radical service innovation. So, if you have never heard of service design before reading this blog post, I guarantee that this won’t be the last time you hear about it!