Design: The Silent Game Changer

Posted 2 weeks ago by Alexander Kulbov

Everything that surrounds you is a product of design. The watch you’re wearing, the pen you’re using, even that paper calendar cube on your desk that you almost never use. It was someone’s job to sit down and come up with it from scratch.

We have all kinds of designers nowadays. Product, industrial, graphic, interior, UI – you name it. Which only serves to show that people tend to look for both functionality and beauty when it comes to tools and surroundings.
But, truth be told, we rarely pay attention to design outside of advertisement and fashion. We’re here to change that. Our main focus will be observing design and its subtle role in modern day life. Then we’ll dive deeper into its two main elements, creativity and productivity – how they influence our careers and business and can we use it to optimize our problem solving skills in the long run.

Design At Every Step

You can say that design is an unsung hero – its contribution is recognized only when we’re unhappy with it. Which is just mean, to be fair.

When people talk about design changing the world, they smirk and say it’s something only designers themselves believe. In fact, design’s main goal is to solve everyday problems by using the means of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. Modern life is strongly influenced by design and what it brings to the table. Take the web, for example. There is nothing stopping us from using the same rough, unrefined 90’s web design over two decades later, despite the technological innovations. It’s functional and practical enough. On the other hand, websites’ visual evolution influenced and practically changes advertisement, marketing and technology for years to come. Nowadays you wouldn’t even bother to read about a product, no matter how innovative it is, if its website looks like a Wikipedia page from 2002.

“Design’s main goal is to solve everyday problems”

Which is why with every day passing design becomes less of a purpose and more of a tool for our needs. A tool to solve problems by approaching them with personal attitude and point of view. If you think about it, everybody can be a designer nowadays. People now have more opportunities to design on their own than they ever did before. They simply have more tools at their disposal than they can imagine. Warren Berger’s author of “Glimmer: How Design Can Transform Your Life and Maybe Even the World” point out that today we have a little more understanding how to creatively solve problems and express ourselves than they did ever before. There’s software avaliable for almost every task imaginable and most of it circles around effective use and distribution of information. Which is exactly what every good design product should do.

“People now have more opportunities to design on their own than they ever did before.”

But why is it important? Let’s take it into perspective. Before we think with our heads, we need to see with our eyes. And what lies before them usually sets the course for the way we perceive and evaluate it. Of course, you don’t necessarily need to create something beautiful in order for it to be effective. But it makes it easier to use and appreciate. No one is stopping you from keeping thing hard, but that’s not how progress works at all. And without progress, humankind will remain in a constant stasis. Not the best option, right?

“Before we think with our heads, we need to see with our eyes.”

Combining Pretty And Useful

Beauty fills the heart with joy, but hardly puts any food on the table. Coming up with a fancy, eye-catching and breathtaking design is nice and all, but meaningless without practical application.

Office design, for example, has a great influence on our careers, business development and everyday routine. It’s connected to our productivity levels and there are certain ways of utilizing it in order to make the best of our surroundings.

There are four major environmental factors that affect productivity levels – noise, air, lighting and space accommodations.

It’s very important that your office sounds good. It‘s neither a classroom nor an opera house, so hitting the happy medium can prove quite tricky. The problem is common for modern open space workers and is proven to make them 66% less effective. Too much noise simply hinders your concentration. Without proper design to distribute and soothe noise levels, it matters not if you have the best specialist at your disposal. Invest in sound-absorbing furniture and high-performance echo reducing ceiling, preferably combined with wooden or carpeted floors. And hire a good interior designer.

Same goes with the lighting. Most of us have felt the headache effect of mixed light more than once. Change all office bulbs with LED or CFL ones. Even better, use natural light – a proven game-changer. But if your office is poorly designed and its windows are high positioned and harrow like in a prison, then you’ll feel like working from within a cage. See how important good and practical design is?

Air quality is not only crucial, but often neglected. Factors such as humidity, temperature, ventilation, and cleanliness depend entirely on proper interior design. You can’t open a window that is not there and you can turn on an air conditioner if there was no room to wire it. Sure, all of these problems can be solved with a bit of renovation. But every kind of repairs ends in dangling wires, furniture shuffle and eventually damnifies space optimization.

Last but not least, it’s a shame not to exploit your surrounding the way you should. Smart homes are one of our decade’s top trends and smart offices make no exception. Among the current prototypes are embedded devices to wirelessly charge your phone, being recognised by your devices as soon as you sit in front of them and even a whole portable desk. Walls, on the other side, are being overtaken by interactive screens, whiteboard paints and drawable circuits. Design tries to combine and optimize our office tools by saving space and fusing function into one base. Just like computer did once.

“You don’t necessarily need to create something beautiful in order for it to be effective

Silent Game Changer

An architect once told me that design serves its purpose best when remaining unnoticed. You don’t criticize your hotel room if it allows you to rest properly and you don’t think about your new pair of jeans if they suit you well. They just remain comfortable. Unnoticed. Efficient.

We said at the beginning that design is a problem solver before all else. That it structures and passes on information by all means and channels possible. Your window transfers it in the form of light. Your company logo communicates by shapes and colors. It’s up to you to take this information and use design to give it not only shape, but also receptivity. To pass it on the right way, the smart way. Because design is the chisel to shape the marble of our lives with.

Alexander Kulbov is addicted to creating stories and putting them into words and pictures. He is currently working as copywriter and graphic designer at Escreo.

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