What to know about design and how to choose the right discipline
Design is a very large topic with an infinity of different opinions and explanations. Design is subject to the very personal way that each person may experience life and its own opinion of the world. Design is a way of expressing an idea to communicate it with the people around you interacting in a vast range of activities on a daily basis to provide the solution of problems or just by simply making the every-day life of each one of us easier. Design can be spread into an infinity amount of areas, can be approached with a wide range or can be pointed down to a very specific field. For example we can talk about Car Design and this will cover many different aspects while there is many different of specific areas of car design such as head lights designers, mirror designer, exhaust designer, steering wheel and etc. The point is that each main area can be narrowed to an infinity of specific areas making this topic incredibly large.
The most popular or "better known"areas of design right now are Graphic Design, Interior Design, Furniture Design, Car & Transportation Design, Yacht Design and Industrial or Product Design, Web Design (Sorry if I'm missing one or two). This areas covers pretty much the gigantic world of "Design" and all the amazing things that it comes with just a 6 letters word.
It is very important to understand the main objective of Design itself. When you "Design" something you have to take into consideration a significant amount of rules and functionality of whatever you have in mind or whatever you need to create. The functionality of the design is the most important thing that makes a project a "Design". If something is created for an intended purpose and does not meet the requirement of its intended purpose it is most likely to be named as "Art" than a "Design". Design is also an "Art", but in my opinion, i consider design as "Functionality Art". Lets take into consideration a Graphic Designer that has to create the home page of a famous brand. It is very important to know the rules and guidelines of visual communication, To understand colours, their meaning and how they work. Fonts; choosing the right font in order to make it easy to read, keywords, proportions,etc. There is a million things to consider when "Designing" something. But if whatever you are creating is successful on accomplishing the goal it is intended to, then, my friend, you have created a "Design". This kind of example is mandatory in every field of Design, mastering the rules and the essence of your area of Design is what will make you shine.
How do you know what to go for and where?. First of all you need to do a research of the different areas of design and understand the difference of each of them. If you already have an idea, have an inclination or know what you like, a little bit of more research would completely help you make a better decision. After you have consider the area or "areas" you would like to go for, the next step I would recommend is to target where you would like to spend the next 3/4 years of your life studying and look for the universities or institutes available in their surroundings and afterwards specific down the best universities or institutes in the area or areas you are interested in and CONTACT THEM ALL! The best way to know or to understand an institute is not by looking at their website, they all have great image to the public and sell themselves very well. By getting in touch with them and asking as much information you need is the key to understand and have a clear image of what they are and what they have to offer to you. Of course there are many great and world wide awarded Institutes, but do not rely on that piece of information only. If you also can pay a visit and explore by yourself what they are actually like so you can have a better picture of it.
Remember that choosing the right balance between those 2 things that i mentioned before (the area and the quality of the institute) will determine your performance on whatever you decide to go for. But regardless you decide to go to Parsons in NYC or Savannah in GA or the Politecnico of Milan which they are all excellent and the best of their class that will not confirm how great of a Designer you are, it will give you a good head start, but what it will determine your skills as a Designer is the amount of work and effort you put into Designing your Ideas and the the most important thing. No matter what you have to love your work. if you manage to show and communicate how convinced you are for your work and how much you like it, you will automatically convince everyone you are the best and they will love what you are doing.
Design also has some limitations to some fields and it is very important to understand this. Because if you decide to go for Interior Design, you have to understand Architecture and Engineering, but regardless of how much you know about them, you are neither and there are some limitations on the work, sometimes its for the better. But knowing as much as possible of both worlds allows you to understand and make your designs with a better chance of being built and not just some fantasy idea that will only stay as a concept impossible to build.
Remember that a piece of paper can hold anything, and what I mean with this is that everything looks great on paper, but there is a very long stretch from a piece of paper to materialize the project and mastering the essence of your Design field will make you shine among the other designers.
Juan Cayo Azcarate