What is a designer’s core competency?
This was the question put to me today by a respected award winning industrial designer. I found, after much thought, that it could only be design.
Put simply, taking away the jargon I learnt in business school, when we go to the market and see something that captures our interest, we very often purchase it. When choosing between two items that have the same or similar functions, if you do not have a budget restriction, or even then, can you always answer why you chose one over another?
And if you can, think about your answer. Did you say, because I liked the way it looked and felt? I liked the way it fit my hand? I liked it’s texture when I ran my hand over it? Did it appeal to your senses?
All of that is directly connected to the choices the designer made. To his taste, you could say, or his ‘eye’. Or her eye, I’m not too good at this gender neutral writing style.
And when something fits together just right, you look at it and go, ‘aaah’. No different that art really except for the crucial difference that most of design is for mass produced pieces, to be manufactured at a particular price point. Again, part of design’s core competency.
I could be wrong in this answer to the question, what do you say?