So while it’s important not to pigeon-hole people and make assumptions about them based on the characteristics they display, on the other hand it can be useful to draw out certain personality traits that are generally held by people in the same profession.
When it comes to designers, a common misconception might be that people who are creative for a living are bound to be flamboyant extroverts with a crazy dress sense. After all, that’s how creativity often manifests itself, right?
In my experience, being shy and retiring is one of the personality traits you don’t generally find in great designers. So what are some of the others? Here is some of the common ground I’ve noticed over the years.
When you’re a designer, being the possessor of a great deal of patience is definitely an essential requirement. That is because the job involves a lot of thinking and a lot of working away at a design problem to which the solution can sometimes seem utterly out of reach. You simply cannot afford to be impatient with design, it takes care and dedication to get things perfect for a client.
Design is about trusting your instincts. After all, that’s why people hire a design agency, because they recognise that designers have qualities they don’t have themselves. Designers are paid and trusted to come up with the best job they can, and the best ones are very good at putting aside practical considerations and following their gut feelings as to the best way of completing a project.
Good solo workers
Designers are generally speaking pretty good at working on their own. That’s not to say they can’t be part of a team – and it’s also important to listen carefully to the brief when meeting clients and talking things over. But when it comes down to it, a good designer has to be able to concentrate on the job in hand, and that means getting down to things quietly alone. People who function best when talking while they’re working don’t usually end up in design.
Designers will always have several things on the go at any one time, all demanding the same high level of care and attention. But when deadlines are looming a great designer has to be able to flit between projects on the drawing board so that everything gets finished on time and to the brief. That means knowing when to leave one project and complete the next section on another, and not everyone finds that easy. A good designer must be a good prioritiser and be able to have a lot on their plate at any one time.
Maybe this one goes without saying, but it’s important not to take creativity for granted. And yes, of course, designers are highly creative. As we said before, that doesn’t necessarily show itself on the outside, and it doesn’t necessarily mean being an extrovert. But it means having the ability to think about problems in an abstract way and come up with ideas that are quite definitely outside the box.
This is another quality which one wouldn’t necessarily associate with great design. Indeed, a talent for administration is, we believe, one of the most undervalued out there. But the ability to cope with a wide range of administrative tasks is essential to good design, because it means that a person has the ability to focus on the right thing at the right time. The mental picture of a designer might be someone with pieces of paper stuck higgledy piggledy all over their desk as they work their intuitive magic, but the truth is very different. Good designers are tidy, well organised, and are capable of managing their diaries and tasks for the day in a very organised fashion. Otherwise, believe us, the work would simply not get done.
A good eye for detail
Creative flair is all about the detail. It’s about seeing the little things in a project that light up the whole thing and make it fly. A designer will never utter the words: “That will do.” Until all the details are right in any design, the whole thing isn’t finished. It isn’t about being slow or indecisive – designers are a pretty decisive lot – but it’s about paying attention to every small aspect of a project until it is completed. Designers aren’t generalists, they’re details people.