Plunging into the world, people absorb its foundations, norms, and patterns, and then go through life. You can succumb to this influence and further unconsciously defend the views inherent in your environment, or you can take this influence into your own hands and master a new way to increase productivity. We discussed with Maxim Vaganov, a teacher and project manager at the TSU Higher School of Journalism, media designer, and co-founder of the Instagram magazine “Poster”, why a tractor driver can be considered a designer, how what we see affects our communication with people.
Winner of the MSU SND 2020 international news design competition.
Specialization: design systems in media; design of periodicals, Internet projects; visual communication in social networks.
- Design for me is a conscious or unconscious human effort to structure chaos. This is a general term from which two main ideas can be distinguished: first, design is not only visual, and second, all people are designers. So a tractor driver who drives across a field and cuts ripe wheat is also a designer whose task is to harvest.
Based on the paradigm voiced by Maxim Vaganov, design, first and foremost, is a tool for solving a problem, and a designer is a person who solves this problem. This can be seen especially clearly in the search for a way to improve vision.
Poor vision -> optical lenses / magnifiers -> monocle -> pince-nez -> glasses -> contact lenses -> laser vision correction.
Each new solution to the main problem eliminated the shortcomings of the previous ones but created additional difficulties: the monocle falls out, the glasses fog up, the lenses are lost ... But looking back at the experience of their predecessors, people found a tool that completely solved the problem of poor vision.
- We are all used to thinking of designers as freelancers in scarves with a cup of coffee moving pixels across the screen. Such people are often difficult to call designers, because they only carry out the instructions of clients, without going into the essence of the problem.
Therefore, for design solutions to remain relevant, you need to learn to understand the audience and the entire intellectual context in which it lives. Moreover, it is not enough just to master the key trends; a specific consumer should be a priority.
To understand what will be relevant to the audience, you need to know the context, and this is impossible without the development of “looking broadly”.
About “looking broadly”
- Looking broadly is a person’s visual experience. With constant observation as a skill, we compose our intellectual-visual library in our heads. It is on it that we unconsciously rely, orienting ourselves in the environment and space. By using it, we judge what is good, what is tasty, and what is beautiful, and we always compare everything new and unfamiliar with its contents.
If a person grew up in a village, nature, animal sounds, simple, understandable colors, homemade food, and village life will be the norm and level of looking broadly. When these people move to a metropolis, they constantly compare what they see around with visual experience that they already had.
At the same time, we cannot lose this view. Because it is a library, you can only add knowledge to it. People cannot roll back and stop perceiving the diversity that they have already assimilated. Therefore, the more people see, the broader their consciousness, which means that they accept more norms that are inherent in other people.
- Looking broadly can be called erudition. But only when we talk about this do we mean more visual experience. But the principles are general: we know more, so we understand more and we do better. Developing general erudition and familiarity, in particular, is important for a designer, musician, chemist, and others. In this way, we remain relevant in the market, and our competitiveness increases.
If you are interested, you are interesting
The more norms we know and accept, the more interesting it is for us to live and explore this world. So we become interesting to other people even in a simple conversation. It is about such people that they say: “He/She can support any conversation.”
If you accept, you are accepted
The more practices, variations, and norms we know, the easier it is for us to support others and ask for support ourselves. Looking broadly also develops tolerance.
If you know what is important, you also do what needs to be done
Looking broadly helps you to remain a relevant and competitive professional. By knowing trends and how society has come to this particular state, we can find new solutions at the intersection of disciplines, stories, and needs.
If you change yourself, you can change the world
A culturally developed and erudite person will not be able to sit still. While exploring new things, we change our way of life and principles, simultaneously changing the environment around us.
Witnessing is an unconscious thing, but it can be grasped and used as a tool in your work. At the same time, it often seems that observation is important only for designers, artists, and all those who deal with the creation of something visual. But in fact, listening, wearing out, extensive reading, and devouring are also included in looking broadly. This is all about the human experience, thanks to which you can understand that a person is erudite, understands the topic, has a broad outlook, and knows how to use it.
To turn looking broadly into your assistant, you need to understand that it comes from the environment, which means that it is the environment that will have to be created for yourself.