Years ago, I had the opportunity to hear Dan Pink speak about creativity. During the session, he encouraged everyone to find some kind of design book, magazine, blog, etc. to read. While as business people we need to know the numbers, we also need to be in tune with design.
It reminded me of the famous commencement speech given by Steve Jobs where he mentions taking a calligraphy class. He talked about how that class was invaluable in designing the first Mac computer.
I was reminded once again of the importance good design plays in business during a workshop hosted by my local ASTD chapter. Tom Kuhlmann, vice president of community at Articulate and author of the wildly successful Rapid eLearning blog, was our presenter for this packed two-day workshop. The topic? How to create successful eLearning programs.
And while we did talk about traditional instruction design (i.e. ADDIE Model), we also discussed:
- How to decide the best graphics and images for course content
- The selection and impact of choosing the right fonts in eLearning design
- Using color to emphasize key learning points
As technology plays a larger role in our lives, so does design. Yes, we need to know the numbers. We need to understand our company’s business model, the industry we work in, and the best way to manage our workforce. But organizations must also be able to design products that are not only functional but beautiful and intuitive. Otherwise, they are producing clunky products with big user manuals.
And honestly, who wants to buy or use something like that?
You don’t have to be a graphic designer to have some sense of design. There are several ways you can learn more:
Books: William Lidwell’s “Universal Principles of Design” is a classic.
Blogs: I’ve just started reading Nubby Twiglet, which is authored by a graphic designer.
Social: Cindy Lin at Staged4More pins some awesome and inspiring designs on Pinterest. I really like her branding and packaging board.
Events: Like the great ASTD workshop.
Increasing our exposure to design elements doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. It does need to be a part of our business lives. Just like getting the news or watching the financial markets.
Image courtesy of HR Bartender0