Designer as Collaborator  Lara Hanlon

Regardless of the discipline or brief, design requires some degree of collaboration. Whether it’s speaking with a client to understand their needs, sharing sketches with colleagues, or working with a production company to execute ideas, designers are in a constant state of communication and co-creation.

In recent years, the demand for designers has simply exploded. We’ve seen companies turn their heads toward design as a means to innovate and drive revenue. Startups, corporations and institutions have made notable investments in design through acquisitions, funding and in-house agency build-outs. Why? Well, that’s a conversation for another time but as designers move into these new, less traditional design environments, the need for deep, cross functional collaboration becomes paramount. Likewise, the ever-evolving, multidisciplinary nature of design itself allows practitioners to move between diverse disciplines over time. The act of collaboration is particularly conducive to this.

So, to understand if and why collaboration in the context of design is important, we asked four individuals to shed light on their respective experiences and practice. Hopefully these conversations will spark further discourse on this topic and perhaps even challenge us to reflect on our own role of designer as collaborator.