Design culture won’t create itself..

Posted – 404 words – Designing

As designers, it’s well known that we consciously steer towards working with companies that claim to embrace a strong design culture - but what if the culture isn’t understood or established from the outset?

Luckily for us, design culture seems to be quickly shifting up the priority list within companies that are inherently or historically not creative. Our often obscure brand of problem-solving and "out-of-the-box" thinking is fast becoming recognised as a valuable asset in an often metric focussed and data-driven society. This isn’t to say that these results aren’t still vastly important - 9 times out of 10, quality design stems from tangible research and past statistics, however, in the current-day there appears to be a respect shown to the unmeasurable and emotional aspects of a company rather than the purely quantitive results.

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Still, trying to establish and nurture a healthy design culture within a company cannot be helped solely by hiring talented designers and merely making something look great. There has to be a value and respect for the skill and process of design.

Like any other culture, a design culture is born out of every little nuance and quirk that we display on a daily basis; rather than just the final products, notable projects or design reveals that the outside world is allowed to see.

Expecting a design culture to just magically appear isn't going to happen, the foundation has to come from who we are as creatives. The stark reality of it is - trying to ignore design culture is damn near impossible these days.

Whether the design culture you find yourself in is established or fledgling, it’s down to us as designers to stay inspired, learn new skills and educate others. Proactively making decisions rather than knee-jerk reactions to issues and tasks. Being allowed the freedom to fail, and learning from our mistakes. Sharing experiences, advice, and knowledge whilst involving ourselves in extra-curricular projects and ultimately, above all, enjoying our work.

This builds culture.


I was privileged to have been asked by the organisers of Craft to write this post for their fantastic Craft zine. The particular issue that I wrote this post for was relating to "Culture". If you've not had the chance to check out Craft, you really need to head over to their Twitter and find out what's going on and when their next event is.

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