4 Characteristics That Set GREAT Designers Apart


Creativity is often mistook for being an innate characteristic; not something that can be learned or achieved, but something only a very small, very special population acquires at birth. It’s very easy to shake off a call to adventure because you’re not “creative enough” or “innovative enough.” But the truth is, creativity isn’t a birthmark, it’s a muscle. One that must be exercised and nurtured until your brain is a throbbing machine of imagination.

Designers have cultivated their palate and aesthetic through years of practice and perfection. Some draw from life experiences; others draw from experiences missed. Every designer and every project is different, but they do all have a few key characteristics in common that empower them to produce in their field

They’re engaged

Great designers have a vision. The hard part is knowing where to find it. Community involvement and a deep engagement in your community is the BEST most RELEVANT way to inspire your designs and your clients. Notice the people, architecture, and authenticity of your surroundings. Take photos of the things that move your needle. You’re probably not alone in noticing those design elements, and they can be crucial when creating functional and beautiful projects. The greats prioritize vision and community engagement above all else. Designers with a hands-on approach transcend pretty pictures and truly impact their community.

They’re setting goals

Everyone needs a focus, and designers are no exception. Projects can quickly get derailed if you don’t set goals right away. Trendy pins can be tempting, but are they right for the project at hand? Avoid getting excited about a small detail instead of looking at the project globally. Knowing what the project needs to accomplish is a huge factor in determining which problems need to be solved, which solutions should be implemented, and which design elements need tweaking.

They have a purpose

Great design isn’t just about meeting client goals or producing pretty pictures. Without purpose your work can feel hollow. The best designers aren’t everything to everyone. They focus on a specific field, or mission, and use those best practices to achieve a higher goal.

Our purpose is to provide businesses with a level of flexibility and mobility that is totally unprecedented in the marketing, food service, and retail industries. We’ve strategically chosen our materials, best practices, and design elements to align with that purpose. Keeping with a higher mission gives our projects and designs a vision that has empowered us to become the industry leaders in this space.

They have priorities

When working with clients, priorities usually play a big part in cost. As a designer, it can be hard to balance a price point with your best practices. Very often there is wiggle room. Sometimes there is not. You must be very clear in knowing the areas you are willing to negotiate and the ones you remain rigid. Not only for your best interests, but for your client’s as well.  For example, when designing for public spaces, safety is a huge factor. Best practices to ensure that your designs are safe to inhabit may be a little more expensive, but it is your duty and your client’s duty to ensure that people are reasonably safe when interacting with your designs and their brands.

Pretty pictures are good. Great designers look beyond that. Designs that consider and apply strategy, community, resources, vision, safety, and user experience are what moves the needle for clients and customers. For more information about creating great designs, download our free eBook outlining Boxman Studios’ design process.