“Developers should code, while designers should study business.”
Makes sense? Internet businesses, like every other company, simply couldn’t function without designers. In the digital landscape, visuals can make a business stand out. With the need for quality designers constantly on the rise, they need to focus on what they do best.
Being skilled at coding might be one of the requirements for today’s designers. But it’s not a completely reasonable demand since there are a lot of people who have mastered coding without any major success in the field of design. The most successful designers are those who can see the big picture, and the only way to get there is to closely study business.
1. See the big picture
When they first get hired, most designers just get a task (or several ones) with a vague explanation of what’s expected of them. Read: they’re to do miracles. Even though there are some exceptions, most designers, although obsessed with their work, seldom ask the question of “why am I doing this, and to what end”. Some may laugh at this thought, and even call such questions unnecessary and redundant. Don’t forget though that an understanding of a specific industry can contribute and drive design in many productive ways.
2. Stay relevant
The most innovative companies in the world know their industry inside and out. Designers should be able to translate corporate vision. In fact, it’s not so strange that Google and Facebook both endorse their ambitions through their designers. Those who emerged as giants in the industry didn’t do so by mere accident. So borrow a thing or two from the most successful brands but always scratch beneath the surface.
To keep relevant, it’s useful to take a holistic approach to your professional development. It’s highly improbable that every business will invest in your education. For this reason, it’s vital that you invest a bit of time and resources in self-improvement efforts. Needless to say, learning a bit about brand design can be extremely useful to anyone in the design profession.
3. Leave coding to developers (or, focus on what you do best)
Having the required skills to do a single type of task, such as being an expert in a single programming language, is no longer sustainable. Modern digital enterprises rely on teams of broadly skilled programming engineers who are able to tackle many different problems. Imagine being a designer and having to compete with expert coders. That’s clearly not a good direction to take.
4. Prioritize design above all
In the end, no one is going to care about how deep your understanding is of the corporate world. Without being good at designing, all the additional knowledge you acquire won’t do much good. Remember artists of the renaissance era? They spent years studying human anatomy and the history of civilization to understand humanity. Only this training allowed them to faithfully portray perfect human figures in marble that stood the tests of time.
Understanding how the world (or in this case business world) works can help you create the ultimate masterpiece – one that fully satisfies whatever set requirements there are. After all, a designer is nothing short of a true artist.