The Olympics of Graphic Design

Did you know there is an Olympic event for Graphic Design?

The World Skills Australian Championships for graphic design were supposed to be held about now. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic they, of course, got canceled!

What is World Skills?

World Skills is the Olympics of vocational trades. Along with Design, it tests and rewards skills like robotics, baking, carpentry, welding and many more.

The National Championships will now be happening in April next year. This will help determine the designer(s) who’ll represent Team Australia at the global event happening later in 2021.

I write about this today to emphasise the value of a working with a designer.

Graphic design itself is a mix of hard and soft skills. The soft skills are things like creativity, organisation, cultural awareness, systems and aesthetics. While the hard skills are things like typography, colour theory, print technique, technology and understanding human behaviour.

It’s the mix of these skills that Designers apply to problems. And it’s not about making pretty pictures. Being able to use Photoshop or Canva does not make you a Designer.

Now, more than ever, there’s a big need to apply design thinking and principals at a strategic level in business.

Not all designers can make this leap.

Some are made for the craft and stick with it. Others can apply the techniques more broadly. Either way it takes many years to achieve an expert level. And you can’t become an expert in isolation.

So choose your designer wisely. Are they willing to work together for a shared outcome? Or are they pushing an agenda? One that may not exactly meet your brief, your budget, or your timeline… but it meets their personal goals.

I advocate that design is a collaborative process. Any person involved with the process can have an impact on the final outcome. That is: the client, the engineer, the CEO and the end user.

I’m a national judge for World skills Australia. In graphic design obviously. I’m currently training Team Australia and enjoying the change in my perspective. I leave you with this thought: Everything is designed, few things are designed well. But all it takes is a moment to stop and think about it.

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