Social Media’s Influence on Design

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Sometimes it is scary to think about the future. Questions like what will happen to the world, country, city, yourself, or even scarier… will your job or skill exist in the future? When I think about the future, I often wonder how design will change. In the past ten years, major changes, especially with digital communication, have begun to influence how designers and industries view design.  I want to talk about those changes, especially the ones due to social media. More importantly, I want to talk about how they will affect the design realm and our jobs.

First, let’s quickly define social media. In short, it is a digital way of communicating and sharing information with the potential to reach masses in rapid time. We learn pretty early on in design education that adapting and solving problems creatively is crucial. We also learn that education, skill building, inspiration, and networking are essential for success. So has social media influenced those areas? Without a doubt, yes.  In the past few years the number of sites giving perspectives, resources, and tutorials has grown tremendously. Nowadays you are not confined by your taught skill set, but rather can seek the giving hands of other creatives.

There is also now an extremely easy pathway to connect to designers and businesses you admire. You can like, share, or repost their content. Social media has created a virtual classroom lounge in which creatives can come, talk, present, and share their ideas without ever leaving the office. The downside of this is that it can be daunting. Sometimes it can feel as if originality is dead because everything exists online and at your fingertips. How does one stand out from the roar of the Internet mass? That is a question that each designer has to ask their self––to stand out means giving something personal, different, and meaningful that others are not.

Communication has also changed. We now can connect and share in multiple ways and formats, all with the click of a button. LinkedIn, Behance, Twitter, YouTube, etc. have given designers a way to easily share admiration, resources and up to the minute news of their lives. While on the topic, these platforms amongst others like Facebook and Pinterest have also put a “monkey” on many designers’ backs. Clients want to have a grand presence online because that is where communication and commerce are turning. There is now almost a requirement to be involved in social media by understanding viral marketing. But what if you don’t? Does that mean your career as a designer is destined for death? No. It is all about education and adapting. No one ever said you have to be a social media guru. There are many tools, articles, and people out there who do specialize and are willing to help in guiding businesses and individuals into understanding and engaging with social media.

Overall, social media has changed everyone with a phone, television and computer. It has changed the dialogue and language of business, commerce, and creative industries. But it is not necessarily a bad thing. We now have resources and ways to connect at our feet. There is a budding chance for creatives to take this opportunity to change how social media is turning and innovate it or stand out apart from it. The future is in our hands because we are designers and we solve problems in the constant strive to make the world a more beautiful and meaningful experience.

Other great reading:

MediaBistro: 5 Reasons Why Social Media Is So Influential

Windmill Networking: Social Media Influence