Most people think they know what designers do….but often, they don’t. Consider these responses heard by many of us as you’ve just revealed yourself as a designer:

“Ohhhh, you pick the colors for web sites.”

“Ohhhh, you do graphic arts.”

Uh, no.

Personally, I’m fond of saying if it didn’t GROW there, somebody designed it.

Regardless, I stumbled across a pretty interesting description of what exactly people like me (and maybe you) do all day. Below are the core expertises of Design according to Chris Conley, Professor and Director, Product Design Graduate Program, Institute of Design, Chicago:

  1. The ability to understand the context or circumstances of a design problem and frame them in an insightful way
  2. The ability to work at a level of abstraction appropriate to the situation at hand
  3. The ability to model and visualize solutions even with imperfect information
  4. An approach to problem solving that involves the simultaneous creation and evaluation of multiple alternatives
  5. The ability to add or maintain value as pieces are integrated into a whole
  6. The ability to establish purposeful relationships among elements of a solution and between the solution and its context
  7. The ability to use form to embody ideas and to communicate their value

How do YOU define what designers do?