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  • Writer's pictureSusan Tonso

we are not just designers: soft skills that make the difference

designer always have to have a broad mind and many soft skills. if these soft skills were jobs, we would be: architects, detectives, analysts, psychologists, lawyers... what else?

as architects in our design project we have to built a structure that has to follow some rules in order to function, we are not artists making decisions just following our guts.

we need rules to make our choices, because everything must have a meaning. this is very important for design: how many times clients ask questions like

"why this font? why this colour? why this shape?"

when designing, we should think about these answers to all these questions, there should always be a reason for our choices.

to understand what the client is saying and especially what he means with it, we have to be psychologists as well. we have to be good listeners and have to understand the many things that are not said, for the client is not an expert and most of the times he doesn't know what he wants. the right questions can make most of the job and can avoid a big waste of time during the process.

research is also very important. like analysts or detectives, we have to understand the background of our client and target. deep research and lateral thinking is very important at this stage. the outcome is usually a moodboard, which is very useful to let the client know the direction and to understand if we are on the same page already or more research should be done. I always do a deep research on the client and on the audience, to understand the mood, the colour palette, the shapes, and so on. I want the client to be represented by the project, and to be comfortable with it. I think that depends a lot on the client the level of "creativity".

when it comes to present the project, I always feel like a lawyer.

before getting to the point, I prepare the ground starting from the brief and the objectives, the background research and mood board then finally, in a crescendo, I present the project proposals with some stunning mockups and previews of the outcomes. we have to defend our position and convince the client, but we don't have to make them feel like they are the contestant! we should be always ready to answer their questions, and to accept the critics without take anything personally.

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