The Levels of Design Maturity

Design is a set of creative and thoughtful activities that extend over time. Everything has the rule or underlying patterns, either language, art, life itself, or an amazing natural world. The distinctive advantage of being design-centered is that you prioritize in making things likable rather than just making them functioning. There are both scientific and artistic ingredients in design and there are different levels of design.

Architectural perspective: The human-centered design begins with deep empathy and an in-depth understanding of the needs and motivations of people from different perspectives. The architecture discipline not only embraces design models, methods, and theories but also embodies the quality of human thoughts and brings up multiple perspectives of design thinking and principles. Architecture decomposes the complexity of design work via effective partitioning, leading to effective decomposition to handle complexity smoothly. Architecture helps to bridge the silos and encourage structural design practices.

The architectural perspective of design puts the emphasis on the whole, and their purpose is to achieve the goals for the thing being architected, desire to listen to the different viewpoints, understand what your customers need and help the business orient itself towards those needs in pursuit of its objectives, and integrate them into a holistic perspective of design models and disciplines. High mature design activities and design-driven innovation is not spontaneous or serendipitous, but an architectural effort, a managed process, and cross-disciplinary practice.

Artistic Perspective: Design and art are different, but also interconnected to each other. The art looks inward, more as a type of artist’s self-expression; the design looks outward, with the goal to delight users or customers. The art enters the design project at the beginning as the concept, often arrived at by a brainstorming session, but design evolves the full cycle of prototyping, test, and verification, etc. Design as a creative process could be sophisticated, but creativity is never for making things complicated, the opposite is actually true. Design as an artistic discipline is to advance, but also simplify things. simplicity is an important design principle. Designers as artists keep learning and fine-tuning their craft, and transcending the art to the next level of consciousness.

Art symbolizes creativity, but the design makes the art functioning. Design concerns itself with aesthetics, intuition, as well as functional. The user interface is not just about wireframes and visual designs. An intuitive interface engages users and improves their productivity and creativity. In essence, the design is not superficial decoration, but a piece of functional art. “There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun.” ― Pablo Picasso. This quote manifests the significant value of imagination and how to turn the art into a great design and achieve its purpose. Further, design thinking can expand into broader business marketing, management disciplines such as branding, positioning, and it’s one of the crucial components of the digital strategy of the contemporary company.

Engineering perspective: Design needs to embed art into science to explore the “art of possible.” The engineering perspective of design enables it to take a logical path to implement ideas as well as to discover scientific formulas and figure out solutions to most types of business problems. A design science or design engineering discipline is developed whenever people start applying the scientific method of observing, creating hypotheses, and proving or disproving those hypotheses. The first concern of design engineering should be meeting the narrower requirements that their aspect of the overall design must meet, be able to design down to the last detail.

An engineer should always think about the goals. Many perceive engineering as an art because it involves personalized observation and judgment, design thinking, intuition, and innovation. As we enter into a technology-centered modern world, engineering and the application of technology will become a fundamental skill to implement design work and make things work efficiently. The exact architecture/engineering crossover point is a matter for architects and engineers working together. The engineering side of design evolves the full lifecycle of the research-define-design-prototype-iterate-test. It’s the ability to produce design-lead solutions in a problem domain repeatedly and efficiently.

Design thought has different stages of maturity, from design-by-default, in which design just happens and design is dictated by status quo policies, procedures, tools, and traditional mindsets to design –by-practice in which design becomes a strategic business activity and management practice. The important thing is to identify the common design principles and the shared body of knowledge that will help to raise design thinking from an inwardly focused semantic argument to the truly recognized digital management principle and discipline.
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