Why We Need Designers


This is a semi rant/discussion of what’s been going on in my head for the past few weeks. It was sparked by a series of radio advertisements for our local universities and colleges, such as UJ, Wits and Boston City Campus, to name a few. The more I listened to them, the more they sounded the same, and the more I realised what they were leaving out. Something I think the working industry has forgotten, and perhaps needs a little reminder of.


The gist of most of these adverts ran along the lines of advertising their courses for business management, law, science, medicine. Their biggest degrees, and possibly their highest grossing degrees because they’re so popular. But they’ve left one area out, and it’s an area that the world actually couldn’t live without. Design.


Design? Who wants to advertise their design degrees? It almost sounds like there’s no future for design graduates, so why bother advertising? It’s only a small group of creative individuals that enroll, so let’s only advertise the big guns. That’s what it sounds like to me. Now, there’s no denying the fact that without people in the corporate world, lawyers, scientists and doctors, the world wouldn’t be the same. But it also wouldn’t be the same without designers. And this is why I think so.


Take the magazine you read this morning. It took a genius to design the printer that printed it, an engineer that built the machine, a journalist that wrote it, an editor that made sure it was put together fairly and properly, and a CEO who ran the company that allowed you to read this mag. But it wasn’t just laid out overnight, and it didn’t come together on it’s own. The advertisements you see? What about the way each page is carefully laid out, to make sure you can read it in a logical and easy manner. That was a designer.


starbucks-logo-historyWhat about the coffee shop you went to this morning. It took a trained cashier to take your order, a trained barista to make your coffee, and perhaps a trained waiter to serve it to you. And there’s always a manager to make sure the business works smoothly. But, without a designer, there would be no branding. No fancy logo. No clever design on the cardboard cupholder that stops you from burning your hand on the hot coffee cup. There would be no branding. No visual identity that you would associate with your favourite cup of coffee to start your day on a good note. That’s all up to the designers.


Or what about your Facebook page you checked this morning. The simplicity of the up-to-date news feed, the ticker on the side that gives you more current information, the notifications that lead you to whoever commented on last night’s status about a fantastic weekend. Designers would have sat for months designing all of that, so that you have something coherent to look at in the morning when you’d like to catch up with the world.


Cars, websites, logos, magazines, movie posters, cellphones, laptops, clothes, shoes, houses. What do they all have in common? A designer. Someone with a creative, innovative, explosively design-driven mind that came up wit cars without designers who think differently. Imagine websites that all looked the same. Imagine staring at a white sheet of paper and a movie title that distinguished one movie from another. Imagine everyone wearing the same outfit, day in and day out. Living in the same looking house, with the only thing to differentiate them was the number on the front. There wouldn’t be any creativity, and most likely, no fun in the world.



Designers are the ones who bring colour, life, excitement and difference in the world. We’re the ones who slave away, wrack our brains, go through sleepless night after sleepless night and fight the worst kind of artist’s block so that you have that stylish laptop, alongside your slim and sexy phone, to take to your business meeting. Without designers, well, just imagine.




So, to the universities, colleges and schools out there. Remember that alongside the managers, marketers, lawyers, doctors and engineers, designers are just as important. Look around you, and think of who made what, and don’t forget to include the designer. For me, I see my calendar that needed a designer. My Wacom tablet that needed a designer. My water bottle. My headphones. My nailpolish. My phone.


Everything needs a designer.


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