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Why constraints should be embraced

Designers are uniquely placed within the workforce. They sit both alongside technical constraints and the big picture — think Product Designers in the tech industry, Textile Designers in the fashion industry and Architects in the property industry. Each understand their domain, and the rules that govern their creative freedom.

Rules and governance can appear daunting terms, but they should not inhibit creativity. In fact, from this vantage — where there is a deeper understanding of the elements at play— creativity should thrive.

Let me explain why. The rules help to define what is technically possible, which in turn informs the boundaries of the playing field. From here, the field should become your theatre of expression; where every limitation becomes an informant for a new way of thinking.

Once this thinking has fully gestated, the most important role of the designer becomes how they communicate those ideas back to the business.

In order to connect with their team, they will need to relate what they’ve discovered, and articulate the rules that helped shape their thinking. Be wary, here is where a lot of good work can be undone. Failing to explain the process by which you arrived at your conclusion, can undermine all the hard work up til now.

However, if you’ve been able to translate your findings to the team, you‘re on to a winner. This is when you can start to impact how your company perceives their future. If your discovery alters their thinking even in the slightest, you’ve had an important impact.

That being said, disagreement can also be hugely beneficial in these moments. Not only can you inform through new learning, you can inform by solidifying original beliefs. In this space, a land where the interplay between opposed thinking enables better ideas, designers can both paint vivid pictures and tear down the easel.

As such, a designer should become obsessed by their constraints; and their ability to teach others what they’ve learned. For constraints will prime stronger, more informed opinions; opinions that will challenge their business. Leading to the most important outcome of all, for good thinking to triumph.

Published on

November 07, 2019