A Well Rounded Designer

Find the things that won’t change in your business and invest heavily in those things. - Jeff Bezos

Bezos’ quote resonates with me on many levels and I think there’s an important takeaway for designers. Are we investing into skills that are going to be relevant in 20 years? I believe that strong communication skills are a must for designers Here are a few in particular that I am currently focusing on.

Persuasion

Designers spend a lot of time reassuring, explaining, and defending design decisions. Persuasion is not the same thing as deception, its about sharing ideas in a winsome way. The ability to get people excited about an idea is tremendously valuable.

Listening

We need to make sure we are building things for real people. It’s important to spend time with the people who use what we create and listen for their pain points. Out job is to create solutions for genuine problems. We can’t do that until we understand what those problems are.

Teaching

When I teach a subject, it forces me learn the material inside and out. I’m challenged to boil down concepts so that they are easy to explain and understand. Technical jargon can be a cover up for insecurity. Oftentimes what sounds smart isn’t helpful.

As a communicator you have to decide if you want to impress people with your knowledge or be effective. You probably won’t do both. - Pete Wilson