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Pivot Etc.

24 Things We’ve Learned About Design (Over 24 Years): Part 3

August 25, 2022 3 minute read

Pivot Design Group is celebrating 24 years in business as a design studio in Toronto this month. To mark the occasion, we’re sharing 24 things we’ve learned along the way working in design and running a thriving design studio. In this third weekly post, we list the third six insights on our list:

  1. Design Evidence™ – is our best offence. We’re constantly reminded about the importance of building a design rationale and strategy, so your clients are fully on board when you begin your design phase. Embedding research early in the process helps us not only to validate but also defend our design decisions when that’s necessary. In the end, this helps to improve client relations, allows us to produce our best work.
  2. “Just Say No” – when a project isn’t right for you, always be prepared to step away. Learn to recognize when you’re overextended or the fit is not there. Give yourself the time you need to decompress and restart… when you’re ready.
  3. Inclusive Design – Design is for the full range of human experience. Diversity in ability, language, economic circumstances, culture, literacy, gender, age, and other human characteristics. Inclusive design is a process, not a result. This is a way of de-risking your design and improving the outcome for the target audience, with the added benefit or reaching new and as yet untapped groups of users.
  4. “It’s the experience not the interface” – the interface is less important than the experience. In order to provide experiences that resonate, or are useful, as designers we must learn from users, audiences, and people.
  5. Who is Excluded? – one of the important goals in design research is to move away from the paradigm of the single designer as the expert. We must broaden our inquiry to include many types of users and people by considering those who have been excluded.
  6. Make Room for Design Research – if you’re planning on more inclusive design outcomes, there may be a need for a change in your approach. Allotting the space needed for immersive field research, making time for creative design thinking can be a good way realize new thinking and more inclusive outcomes.

This month Pivot Design Group celebrates its 24th year in business as a Toronto design studio. In the third of four weekly posts for the month of August, we thought we would mark the occasion by listing six interesting things that occurred to us about design practice and running a studio.


Ian Chalmers, RGD
Principal & Creative Director

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