Sometimes as designers, we create problems, but we also solve them. As creative and innovative thinkers, we listen to our curiosity while observing the issues that arise around us. Without listening and perceiving, how can designers solve problems?
The answer is that we cannot, at least not well.
In design and our everyday lives, listening and observing are crucial skills.
Take the time to listen. Listen to that client who talks a little too much. Listen to the sometimes outdated professor. Listen to the unagreeable feedback or critique. Listening allows you to gain valuable insight into the situation. An understanding of why problems are solved is obtained, as well as perspective. How do those of different opinions and lifestyles view the issue?
So allow the clients, professors, peers, or that random barista at Starbucks to speak, ask them engaging questions and chat some more.
Never forget that everyone has a story to tell and a voice to be heard, including you. Your narratives and perspectives are equally important.
There are some things left unsaid, at least verbally. You can learn a lot from watching, as what human behaviour displays can be more honest than what is said aloud.
Observe the environment and the people around you. How do these people behave? How do you fit into this setting and interact with them? By recognizing your surroundings, you begin to discern various perspectives, body language cues, and how people deal with different situations.
As you continue to observe the world around you, you will meet new people and learn to appreciate diverse outlooks. Take this opportunity to embrace multitudes of perspectives into your design work.
Jenny Tiêu is one of the graduates of the York/Sheridan Program in Design class of 2021. Catch Jenny’s work showcased at the online graduate showcase on April 20–21. Visit ysdn2021.com for more details.