Published: 07th February 2018
Why designing will never go out of vogue even when the machines rule
Designers have the unique ability to identify problems, situate themselves within multiple contexts, use ambidextrous thinking and synthesise information using logic and lateral thinking
We are living in a world where disruption is the norm, tech metamorphosis is a constant and creative destruction is a routine phenomenon. As our innovation obsession grows and redundant systems, processes and jobs disappear into oblivion, we are compelled to find the skill(s) that will help us be the change agents in the future economy. The famous Oxford study, ‘The Future of Employment’ (2013), lists professions and skills that will remain relevant in the next 20 years when computerisation and artificial intelligence (AI) would be evolved enough to replace almost 47% of all jobs as we know them. Design is among the professions with the lowest probability of computerisation. The reason is simple – design and designers have the power to drive change.
Designers have the unique ability to identify problems, situate themselves within multiple contexts, use ambidextrous thinking and synthesise information using logic, lateral thinking, systemic analysis, psychology, anthropology, technology, ergonomics, empathy and intuition to come up with solutions that create an impact. The scope of design and designers has expanded beyond craft, aesthetics, form and functionality. It is an amalgam of creative and critical thinking and has become synonymous with the concept of design thinking. From cost-friendly, carry-in-your-bag toilets for refugees and natural calamity survivors to Starbucks’ ‘Concept Cafes’ to Airbus’ reconfigurable plane cabins, design thinking offers creative solutions.
World class: Jitin spearheaded the academic collaboration between IIAD and Kingston School of Art
Let us take the example of graphic and communication design. Graphic design, earlier an all-encompassing field for designers working with images and visuals, has now expanded into a much larger and comprehensive field that uses images, moving visuals (film), sounds, animation, augmented reality and other real and virtual environments to create messages that inform, influence and inspire. Communication design is about conceptualising and designing an entire experience for the end-user across digital and physical communication ecosystems. We groom our students to be communication designers and strategists who seamlessly work at the intersection of technology and design and, therefore, can facilitate synergistic collaborations in cross-functional teams with counterparts from engineering, business intelligence, and marketing to arrive at solutions that drive growth.
There is great demand in the Indian business scenario for talented designers. One of the most common graphic design jobs is that of a multimedia/web designer. Others include brand identity designer, creative/art director, and layout artist
It is also noteworthy that visionary organisations like Google, Apple, and IBM have good design at the core of their organisational DNA. Mustafa Kurtuldu, Design Advocate at Google, and Matt Candy, VP, IBM iX, recently spoke to the Design Council, UK about the importance of design and developing a design-mindset to help businesses succeed.
Therefore, design schools must be proactive in responding, and whenever possible, preempting any emergent needs of the industry and the community to adequately prepare future designers for jobs that may not exist today. As our students get opportunities to work with businesses from different industry verticals and geographies, it is becoming evident that design is important to the success of every organisation, not just creative businesses and design studios.
(The author is the Founder and Director of Indian Institute of Art and Design, Delhi. As a young educational entrepreneur and a PhD in finance, Dr Jitin Chadha is best known for his carefully conceived educational programmes that are redefining higher education by making world-class education accessible to Indian students. He brings passion and experience to the field of education to cater to the standards and requirements of international design.)