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A common question that arises in various discussions between professionals, developers, clients and management teams is “why is it so important to spend x amount of design time on a specific solution? Can’t we cut back on costs by squeezing this assigned time?”

The answer is no. Design is not just about decoration, but in the words of a wise creative “it’s the most elegant answer to a problem”. Design surpasses just the esthetic surface of a solution; it inculcates sophisticated functionality and empathy to users’ experiences when engaging with the solution.

In any sphere, be it business, life, science, politics, economics, design has the power to create an identity – whoever it may be for, the way we humans dress ourselves denotes something about our individual personas, similarly good design creates a creative persona for a solution – which not only makes the solution easily recognizable, but also speaks of the core values that the solution may be a composition of.

To think that everyone who can use professional design software is a design practitioner is a misconception, which has been further reinforced by software firms trying hard to sell their tools by claiming how easy and quick it is to transform yourself from a finance professional to a creative. The roots of this probably go back to the industrial revolution, where a so called designer, created not just brands, identities, but they also designed products and experiences. But that ofcourse was expensive, hence, came about the idea of a ‘creative assembly line’ (adapted from Henry Fords’ first ever implementation of the same in the Ford car manufacturing unit in the US in the beginning of the 21st century). Now the same task was being split between 5 different people, this not just enhanced efficiency but also increased employment opportunities and a great boom for art schools across the world as various design disciplines were established.

It’s intriguing that although the design disciplines stand apart even today, but there’s an emerging merger – not between different kinds of design, but between engineers and design. As a result we come across more and more ‘cloned’ solutions, the same solution that was created a few years ago, creates a slightly altered clone of itself 3 years later.

So, is a 30 minute photoshopped solution what you should be looking for?

Or, should the solution be a result of in depth market and user research, brainstorming, incubation of several ideas, the execution of the most effective solution and an afterlife plan for the same?

The answer is simple, design as an industry or a skill set emerged with the industrial revolution, and is today a strong component of the worlds’ largest and smallest businesses and organizations. The value that design adds to a given solution makes it appealing, accessible and functional; to undermine the significance of this ever growing, constantly adapting and changing specialized would probably result in meeting immediate budget targets, but absolute loss in the generation of a GOOD solution.

– Manjul Rathee

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