DXB101 | Developing as a Designer

“There is no challenge more challenging than the challenge to improve yourself.” – Michael Staley

The quotation above is something that has really stood clear to me throughout these past weeks. As a developing designer, the desire for consistent self-improvement is key to pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and testing new methods. During this first semester, I was challenged by a lot of the tasks within DXB101 to try new materials, work collectively in a group to produce successful design solutions, and enhance my skills on creative programs, such as Photoshop and Premiere Pro.

At the beginning of this course, I was quite unsure as to what I wanted out of it and what I expected. I had a very generalised, minimal idea of what ‘design’ was really about. I simply viewed it as a creative solution to a problem. I saw it as something that had to be aesthetically pleasing and had to ‘tick the boxes’ of a given brief, but it is much much more than that. From various projects and discussions throughout the semester, however, I have since developed my personal understandings. Successful designers revolve their process around this concept of ‘human-centred design’ – creating experiences and visuals based on the users’ preferences, needs and psychology, instead of just coming up with an idea and constructing it immediately. There is an extensive research journey involved in any design, including thorough investigation of consumers’ individual behaviours, desires, demographics and lifestyle goals. This process is all about ensuring that the final product is appropriate for the intended users. On top of this, the basic design process stems into even more depth, with steps such as prototyping and refinement based on feedback.


[Source: eontek.co]

Aside from enhancing my understandings of design, I was also often encouraged to take a number of creative risks throughout the semester. My journey so far has pushed me to take new and confident creative strides to fulfil the given tasks. A particular challenge for me was developing an appreciation for failure. While I have always aimed to achieve the best result straight away and avoid risks, I have discovered that without failure, there is no room to learn and grow. Through this creative journey, I learned to be less afraid of making mistakes and more open to test my personal boundaries as a designer. Depicted in the comic below is a visual example of the create risks involved in the recent Design Charrette. From the moment receiving the design brief, there was the risk of collectively compromising the group’s ideas into one finalised prototype for review, which further led to the most nerve wracking risk of all – sticking with the chosen concept and putting forward the final idea in the presentation.


This newly found knowledge made me revisit my original tattoo design and question whether it was as relevant to me now. Looking back, I’d say my initially concept was very safe and didn’t push me or encourage me in any way. As a result, I developed a personal symbol for taking risks and accepting failures along the pathof moving forwards. This new design is a representation of the rocky path of life, and the ups and downs that make people who they are in the future.


While the overall image does not appear risk taking or daring, it is the meaning within the symbol that has a greater emotion and depth to it. The aesthetic of the drawing maintains my initial style at the beginning of the semester, as I have personally found minimalism and simplicity to have the most powerful underlying messages. This tattoo reflects my growth as a designer, and is a representation of my hopes for the future. Despite experiencing some stressful moments during the semester, as shown in the graph below – from the Mini Charrette, in particular – I have gained a vast amount of confidence from the lessons learnt.


While I’m not entirely sure what I plan to do after this course, this semester has taught me to try new things and be willing to take risks to discover opportunities and pathways I have never considered.  I hope to continue strengthening my skills and understandings, and graduate with a design portfolio that will help me through to my next steps as a designer. This semester has inspired me and allowed me to see that design and visual communication can be used for a lot more than I initially perceived. It can be a creative problem-solving tool for some of the world’s greatest issues, as a designer has the power to increase public awareness and create positive new spaces. In five years, I hope to have indulged myself in a number of projects and situations to find myself in a place where I can be using my skills to better the world around me. Until then, I hope to continue taking risks and finish with a vast amount of opportunities and goals that I could never even image right now.

Reference List 

Eontek. (2016). Website Design. Accessed May 26, 2016, from Eontek: https://eontek.co/services/design/website-design/

Michael Staley. (2016). There is no challenge more challenging than the challenge to improve yourself. Accessed May 26, 2016, from Quotesville: http://quotesville.net/there-is-no-challenge-more-challenging-than-the-challenge-to-improve-yourself-michael-f-staley/


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