From the Design Portal editor´s: Writing from Brazil, where the Industrial Design — Product Design profession is not acknowledge formally by the Goverment. Designers have decades figthing to make it a formal profession. In addition, this process take us to a second issue, some designers are supporting the Government, “You need a Design University Diploma to be a designer”. On the other hand, designers are also against saying that “What makes a good designer is no the University, we are closing the doors to all the designers that don´t have a formal course, and they are great too”.
This article speak to those:
- who didn´t have the opportunity to go to a design school.
- professionals from other fields, that suddenly are working with design and need to honey their skills and knowledge and don´t have the time to go back to school.
- who want to be a design professional and don´t have the financial resources to pay a University
- who can pay the University but are thinking if it´s worthwile to go to a 4 years Design Course or take short design courses instead
- Also the article is very valuable for designers too!
The question is “Does a Design University course make you a designer?
My answer is yes and no. Let me explain with more detail.
Why I need a Design University course to be a Designer?
Design is getting more and more complex by the day. It´s no longer only industrial — product and graphic design, it´s now UX, UI, webdesign, apps-design, also going 3D and generative design and its intersection with engineering, nanotechnology, biotechnology. With its inherent complexity alone, the needs are growing exponentially also, it´s not only local anymore, it´s going global, such as a designer in the US that wants to solve health, housing issues in Africa.
Going back to the question above, the Design University is very important because of only one reason:
- The University will show you that Design is a complex, ciclical process, where the final design output took a lot of thinking, sketching, validation and prototyping. In other words, there is a whole universe behind your proposal. It wil show you that good design always have a great, consistent and sistematic basement behind, a lot of research and brain-hours to build the brief and to comply with all the requirements before a single line in the sheet. You need to know the “WHY” of every visible and invisible detail of your design. The key is the design process and all is behind it. Moreover, in 4 years at the Design Course you are learning the backstages of the Design, the process, Design Thinking, you are learning to understand and think like a designer. The topics, the design behind the design is more important. Design is context, research and a consistent basement as a result of a lot of effort and thinking and the University will provide you this global view of design in a sistematic way with a design program that has evolved over the time and was thought and developed focusing in molding a design professional.
Why I don´t need a Design Course?
Let´s say that you are a great designer with no Design Course or a professional from other field working now with design. Let me explain you why you don´t need a Design Course:
- In today´s world knowledge is open and accessible to all. You don´t need a 4 years design course to learn topics like Design Theory, Design History, Design Methodology, Ergonomics, Semiotics, what I called “Front-Design”. You can learn it online with great courses like the MIT OCW. You don´t need a University anymore for this kind of “design knowledge”.
- If you are a “doer” designer, I mean, with no interest in the academic environment, research or teaching, you definitely don´t need a Diploma. The Diploma is very important to those who want to pursuit a academic career with Master´s and PHD degrees ahead. If it´s not your case, don´t bother.
You don´t have the time or the resources to go back to school, or you are already a untraining designer with good experience and portfolio?
My advice: Focus in the “back-design” issues to be a better “design professional” — the creative process, innovation, design thinking because: