3 reasons why design is a lot more like making coffee than painting an artwork

A lot of us have some prior notions about design, whenever the word design comes up in a conversation a few words and images pop – up in our minds. Words like color, fashion, illustrations, and motion share the stage with visuals like big typographic texts plastered on the wall and maybe an advertisement that you saw yesterday while having a warm cup of coffee with some cake.

But what if I told you instead of being a huge logo on your venti cup or an app that you are addicted to, design is a lot more synonymous with you deciding upon the best restaurant for tonight’s dinner with your family,  How would you react?

This is the exact thing that we are going to discuss here and we are going to talk a lot about coffee. So grab a cup and let’s get started.

Think about the first time you made coffee, it was probably instant coffee, and an adventurous you had thought of trying out something new. 

While thinking of coffee we think of something inviting and pleasant. We relate coffee to community and warmth, for the same reason cultures have been built around coffee and every section of the society is fond of it in one form or the other.

May it be the filter coffee in an Udipi or a cold brew in your house we all love making coffee.

The thing with art though is very different, we tend to reserve the process of making art to a certain group of people.

Painters, poets, filmmakers, and people who express themselves in one of the many forms possible. Which shouldn’t be the case since everyone has a desire to express. As an adult trying to make your first painting is a lot harder for most of us than to make that first cup of coffee.

Just like art, we tend to think of design as something exclusive, a thing that only designers can take part in and that is the notion I would like to counter first.

Design is a school of thought and definitely much more than just things being designed

If this statement has caught you off-guard let me explain.  Advertisements, mobile phones, applications, cars whatever things we consider designed to be are actually products, and byproducts of a process.

The process involves following certain steps and thinking in a particular manner to achieve our goal. Design today has evolved to become much more than tangible products, it has entered the realm of thought and mannerism.

To learn design is to learn how to approach a problem. The problem can range from making a good brand to solving a global problem to deciding what to have for dinner.

If accounted for like this design doesn’t limit itself just to designers, it becomes a tool each one of us can harness in varying ways to better understand our problems. From doctors to students it can prove to be a vital element in our problem-solving toolkit.

This takes us to our second point.

Design is a collaborative effort

Consider this, you go to your favorite cafe to have a cup of that beautiful steamed latte. You go to the counter, order it, the barista makes it, then someone serves it to you or you pick up your order on your own and you enjoy it letting the atmosphere sink in.

If drinking coffee is to be considered an experience, then there are many people involved in making it a pleasant one. From the people who pick the beans to the stranger who becomes your friend while drinking coffee. The experience is a lot bigger than just the barista making your coffee, similarly, design is not only about designers

People with expertise in various fields can join in to become a part of the process, knowledge in design is not a prerequisite. Psychologists, managers, engineers, poets, accountants, and many other professionals can become a part because design as I said is a way to approach problems and different perspectives are always helpful.

A person doesn’t have to be a designer to become a part of the design process just like you don’t have to know how to pick the beans to make a good cup of coffee.

The design allows us to explore various ventures while allowing us the luxury of letting other interests co-exist. Even this blog is on a website that discusses Marketing AND design and is being written by a person interested in storytelling  (me).

Book Design

The design process needs non-designers to be successful

 I talked about how design has its gates open for anyone who wants to take a look at it.

The fact is the gates have to be for a design to be successful. A solution is often incomplete if the right people haven’t given their insights and design is a field where a plethora of solutions might be possible, it becomes crucial that the right people join in and collaborate

It’s Reading Time!

The art of creative thinking – Rod Judkins

A masterfully written book, it demystifies creative thinking in the best ways possible.

The book takes us on a journey to show how creative thinking is an emergent phenomenon resulting from various habits and experiences in our life. It also discusses activities and exercises which we can practice to become more creative. Through engaging storytelling, the book makes a point about how being curious and creative is an innate human characteristic.

Reading the book made me question what it really means to be creative and if there is a single answer to this question. With both linear and non-linear paths possible, the book makes for an engaging read. One whose anecdotes will stay with you forever.

A must-read for anyone looking to understand human curiosity and our desire to create.


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