Updated: Apr 19
As we have established, design is not a stage of a project. It’s the beginning, the middle, and the end, and some would argue that there is never any end. The exact meaning, however of the word design depends on the context and can also mean a variety of different things.
There are many different forms of design. However, every type of design exists to solve problems. To solve problems, one must first be able to see it, and to see it; one must be able to collect all the data around it. That’s when real problem-solving and, thus real design starts. It's neither art nor science but probably a careful blend of the two.
“Design is a solution to a problem. Art is a question to a problem.” John Maeda
However, unlike art, the design does not have to be original. Designers are not inventors.
They are problem solvers, and for every problem, there are often many tried and tested solutions, whether in your design category or outside of it. Indeed, design can often be dressed in a fashion with broader or less visual appeal. This is as true for furniture, architecture, space, and object as for a user interface.
Architectural design also plays a vital role in the overall design process, from envisioning and sketching initial concepts to creating detailed plans and blueprints.
So how does one go about problem-solving?
It starts with understanding the problem first. Why does the problem exist, and is the problem worthy of a solution? Can the problem be solved with an existing set of solutions, or does it require an entirely new approach? The answer lies partly in empathy. Being able to immerse oneself deep enough, long enough, and sincerely enough into the problem or set of problems to understand the actual responsibility and opportunity. Furthermore, a problem can only be solved once one asks the right questions. New approaches must only be implemented if one is 100% convinced that the existing ones will not do.
When designing a space, it is essential to consider the human behavior that will occur within it. This is especially true when designing for the hospitality industry, such as restaurant and bar design, hotel design, and luxury design. By understanding how people naturally behave in these contexts, designers can create aesthetically pleasing but also functional and comfortable spaces.