I’ve been teaching design now for a bit over 3 years. By teaching I mean in a higher-ed institution. I’ve been doing design for close to 20 years. I feel it makes me a bit of an expert in the field. But even experts have questions from time to time so here is my question for y’all:
True or false: “Being able to take abstract direction is a key to being a great designer.”
Or is it just interaction and service designers that need this? My gut says all designers need it, if not in the past than definitely in the present.
But what I’m also noticing is that the bulk of the students I teach have issues with taking abstract direction. What does this mean? It means that the directions being given for a task are incomplete or have a ton of room for interpretation. In fact, a great designer would probably revel in the fact of having room for interpretation, no?
A couple of my peers and I have had a discussion and the only interpretation is some mix of the following:
- (my favorite) We have killed the spirit of risk and the excitement of creativity by raising a generation of children to be educated to the “test” and nothing more.
- Disciplines like interaction design and service design that are abstract by their very nature require a higher level of maturity than other design disciplines that are fine “just taking orders” in their junior praxis.
Most likely it is some combination of the two, but what are your thoughts?