Designer's Way of Thinking

Designer’s way of thinking is often called "creative thinking”, as compared with "critical thinking”. Whether being architects, planners, interior designers, or engineers, one important skill for a good designer is to have a designer's frame of mind.

When one examines the characteristics of a designer’s thinking habit, one could look at artwork by famous designers. Artworks by Corbusier, Kahn, as well as by contemporaries such as Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry indicate quite vividly ways of thinking in these designers' minds.

Of course, artwork is only one form of media. One can also describe designer’s way of thinking in words or texts. Descriptors are as such: "out of norm, far from familiar territory, from a domain where nobody has visited, to think about solutions under a different light"; or, "to imagine in multitudes of perspectives, to think divergently, and to think convergently"; or "a none-linear thinking, which reverts the causal relationship" and so on.

Designers should be accustomed to let their thoughts wander at-will and lead by intuition; should consciously blur the boundaries of fantasy and reality; and should be able to create new symbols for the unknown.

Left:  Zaha Hadid's Artwork (Source: Pinterest)    Right: Darwin's Manuscript

Let’s look at artwork again as metaphor for designer's way of thinking. More colorful ones include paintings by Kandinsky, Picasso, and Paul Klee. Even persons who are not skillful artists are nevertheless very creative people, whose minds can be read from their manuscripts such as those by Einstein and Darwin.

In short, whether through painting, or other means, designers should always find ways to develop their unique way of thinking in order to keep creativity alive.


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