The business of design

The design profession will always be challenged to inform its clients as to the services they are required to pay for. From the moment we are all born any of us is a designer: we all think; we all create; we all make connections between our thought process and the actions required to bring those thoughts to reality. This is a journey from the internal to the external. What good designers do is build a process that is both efficient and desirable. In order to make business out of design services designers must realize their value.

Three simple questions can determine what constitutes the design service: what are the tools; what is the result; what is the product. As soon as you manage to agree with your client about the value of your services, looks like your in business. This is true to any business. As mentioned, design is in each of us (sounds pretty religious, doesn’t it). The transition from design as a naturally occurring activity to design as a professional service requires some articulation of the three questions above.

Here are some quick thoughts for further expansion later on:

  • The tools (the skills set): your brain, your hands and the connection between them 
  • The result (the delivery): a creative process that includes a variety of purposeful human interactions
  • The product (the tangible): communication tools and governance

Your skills set enables the quality of engagement in the design process.  The way of delivering the service affects all of the people engaged in any specific project. The product is just the tangible aspect of the service and is as important. These three components of our service constitute the strategic value of design.

Many designers enter their career after being the ones who created visually compelling images. They might have had the most readable hand writing; those who drew the nicest cars or dressed in the fanciest fashion ware. Only after years of perfecting the whole spectrum of our own service do we manage to become the consultants we actually are. The sooner we build awareness to the components of our service the sooner we can charge the premium for it.

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