How design thinking finds new answers

By Campbell Butler

The other day I sat in a brainstorm with a bunch of fellow graphic designers, discussing the future direction of an international business. Someone in the team made a flippant joke about the moment: Most of us had gone to art school, not business school. 

As designers we sometimes worry about engaging in the “business side” of things. But today’s businesses are desperate to find experimental and creative solutions and designers are just the problem-solvers they need. We’ve been trained to take a brief, assess the problem, instinctively create different directions, analyse the positives and negatives, reject one, create another, see what works, see what doesn’t.

We can rapidly create visual concepts that test how products, communications, experiences and interfaces can work together. And we can test multiple directions. It allows businesses to take risks they couldn’t imagine, because they can see tangible possibilities. That, is business prototyping.

There’s an opportunity now as designers to get beneath the veneer of subjective aesthetics and establish design, and design thinking, at the heart of tomorrow’s businesses – an opportunity we should grab with both hands.

So, am I a graphic designer anymore?

Campbell Butler is a Senior Designer at Wolff Olins.

Illustration by James Kape.