Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Design is acting?

By Hannes Seeberg

As I am a great movie maniac, I have compared a designer with an actor many times. In a way these two professions are very close to each other. They are like a trained chameleons – to get the optimal result, they change their colours according to situation and environment. They are versatile, sensitive and open for changes.

To start with the project, designer gets the design brief, and an actor a script. The first task for the designer would be diving under a target group’s surface, to understand their current life and sense the future changes. Also actor collects information about their role’s life and character, and reacts to it by replacing one´s “skin” with the matching “colour”. A great devotion to the role is born; information is being collected, analysed and translated into suitable media. All the work is rewarded only, when the goal is achieved – products, that the designer created, matches with the target group’s values, and the public was blown away by actor’s believable interpretation of one´s role. The result of their work guaranteed a great experience and satisfaction, the client got the equivalent value to his/her money or even exceeded expectations.

This can be thought forward and ask, how much is design acting? Both acting and designing require a lot of empathy - ability to see yourself in another’s position. If the designer is not able to understand others, one can not create a satisfying product. The product would be like a play in the theatre – it is not interesting for the public, when the roles and the story doesn’t work. The play is like one of the present design philosophies – form and function follows fantasy – it takes people into an emotional state, that leads them away from real world. A designed product would be like a story in a play – the value-attribute, that user needs or expects, flows out from it.

When design is a language, that everyone understands, but no-one talks, the importance of empathic skills in a designer is very high. So to achieve understanding, the story is being expressed to a target group without using any words. A great product does not need any justification – the user group understands it at first sight. This is what empathy in products is all about.

1 comment:

  1. Hannes / ProvokeNovember 29, 2009

    To think about it more, I see it is no surprise that acting has already been adapted to design thinking games - roleplaying!