I'm Nicholas. A designer living in Omaha, NE.

So, you think you’re a designer? Well, you’re not. Stop bastardizing the word.

I’ve been asked several times what I think design is and it’s hard to answer. However, did I finally come up with an answer?

What is design? It’s what a designer does.

Oh, did I just create another question? I did, but I have an answer for it as well.

What does a designer do? Design. Wait, back to where we started. Confused? I used to be as well, until now.

A designer does not simply construct, build, piece together or assemble someone else’s idea or thought. I repeat, that is not what one does. A designer conjures, conceptualizes, forms, invents, brainstorms, creates, imagines or develops an idea. If someone comes to you with an idea, lays it out in front of you and you then take that idea and visually construct it for others to see, you did not design it. I hope that doesn’t burst any bubbles.

The person who brought it to you, remember them? They designed it. An architect doesn’t build his own buildings, but he certainly designed it. Is a builder less important than a architect? Absolutely not. They’re completely dependent on each other.

Which is why it’s great that designers also create their own ideas, visually. Depend on yourself instead of someone else. Now, are you not a designer if someone else produces your idea? No. You still designed it and not producing it doesn’t make you less of a designer.

Where am I going with this? I’ll tell you where. It deeply bothers me that people who merely worked on something, set type, edited photographs, etc. think to themselves or express to others that they designed it when they played no role in the actual concept. Anyone with minimal computer skills can be taught how to use software eventually but it takes much longer for them to fully grasp what it takes to design something. To create and own an idea in your head, or share it with others, is vastly different from putting together pieces when you already know where they go. The real beauty is figuring out what the pieces are before anyone even thinks about assembling them.


Artist The Antlers
Album Burst Apart


One Comment

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  1. Alyssa #
    October 11, 2012

    I haven’t checked out your thinking space in a while but I found my way! I rather enjoyed this little gem, the last sentence is fantastic! Oh how brilliant it is to know what you are meant to do in this world! One day it will all make sense for me. Reading something like this reminds me to keep a vigilant eye out and not give up :).

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