Over the past 5 years, I have had to wait and nod my head whenever I hear a Nigerian youth like me say the word “I am a designer” especially when they really are. It makes me happy and proud.
The idea of you making things, creating experiences, solving problems, and other forms of creativity is just inspirational. My definition of a designer is someone that creates something useful and beautiful, but more of useful.
Real designers are difficult to find everywhere. I mean, creating something that leans toward solving a problem is fulfilling. Here in Nigeria, we have some fantastic designers no doubt but most don’t design to solve problems, they design to beautify and add aesthetics to an interface but forget about or ignore it’s usability.
Why we need more designers in this country
If you are sensitive enough, one of the things that sets us in motion in this country is “trend”, and it has also affected so many lives negatively. We allow our subconscious make decisions for us without looking for reasons. The country is in recession, I have friends that have had their salary slashed and some that have been fired because their employer cannot afford to keep paying them.
This country need her youths to wake up, especially people who are shy geniuses in art/design but decided to be a lawyer and people who do things because it pays the bills. We need designers. We need people who can help jobberman create better interface and user experience, tell vConnect how confused they are, advice konga and jumia to be innovative about their interface design and not copy each other. I have seen a lot of bad design decisions made by many of the companies we look up to as the big guys.
What do you think will happen when the competition becomes so fierce, especially now that a lot of foreign investors are creating startups in our beloved country? Well, my answer is that we are in that situation now and companies are now looking for competitive edge which includes and is not limited to highly productive people to hire, appeal to customers through design and creating very useful products.
What I see is everyone want to be a lame champ, wear a hooded clothing and say hello babe “My name is john doe, I write code and design stuff”. That’s so messed up, you can write code and it doesn’t amount to anything. Also, we don’t build. Instead we spend all our life catching up with the so called trends. Building does not mean creating a piece of software because you feel it will amount to you becoming a start-up founder. It simply means allowing your curiosity to lead you to building solutions to problems
Design is not about how it looks
If you are a web developer/software engineer and take your time to plan your application logic and your db schema before diving into code, then you are a designer. Most of the time, we think design is about how it looks. No it’s not. When you look at a piece and you say wow, it’s beautiful, then that’s art, but when you ask how it works and the problem it solves, then that’s design. Design and art are both interwoven but they are not the same.
If you are reading this and you are not interested in design. My advice to you is this. “Don’t spend the rest of your life doing what you don’t love”. I am saying this because you will get very bored and lose any form of creativity and inspiration to develop in any way.