If it seems to you that designers don’t need to read books, you are terribly wrong. In fact, literature can come in handy for people with any occupation.
Have you ever thought that through reading books, you can actually learn things that are not directly teachable? If not, this article will explain to you how it works.
Empathy is a crucial trait for designers. The psychologists from the New School for Social Research have proved that reading literary works can significantly improve your ability to empathise. The experiment was the following: David Kidd and Emanuele Castano gave a list of authors to 1 000 participants and asked them to point out the ones they recognized. After that participants were asked to do the ‘Reading the Mind in the Eyes’ test that assesses how well they can read others’ emotions.
It turned out that participants who read more literary fiction demonstrated better performance on the test. Scientists assumed that books prompt readers to make and adjust multiple interpretations of characters’ mental states. In other words, they learn to understand someone else’s perspective. This skill is invaluable to designers who create new products with empathy at the foundation. An empathetic approach that is based on a great understanding of others is what can make you an extraordinary professional and artist.
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Most young people are overloaded with numerous assignments at college. Hence, they have time only for the most essential tasks. This means that students often miss extracurricular activities and skip additional reading. Unfortunately, they can’t devote much time to learn what they are interested in beyond the syllabus. However, if you check essay samples and book reviews collection while doing your homework, you can facilitate your learning process. Before you begin working on your writing task, just check the examples of similar works on the web, so you have a structure and information to rely on.
Anyway, designers can benefit really a lot from reading literature as it helps them acquire skills necessary for their occupation. What are they? Let’s find out!
Reading Between The Lines
One of the main duties that designers have is analysing design research. You will have to search for patterns in a piece of information, pick out notable elements and link them together to form insight. Sounds similar to a novel analysis, doesn’t it? Even if you read books for pleasure only, they still kindle some analytical thoughts. How does it happen? While reading, we subconsciously gather clues that help us make sense of a character. This continuous analysis teaches us to read between the lines, which is another crucial skill for designers.
Surprisingly enough, experiments have shown that statements, thoughts, and actions of people making a certain decision usually don’t align. Psychologists assume that this happens because most individuals have a desire to enhance their image. The inconsistency may also occur because of a lack of self-awareness. Therefore, designers always need to understand what people actually want, despite what they say they want.
Understanding The Context
Designers talk to customers in relevant spaces that create context – homes, parks, shops, etc. This creates a certain immediate context that should be taken into account during the collaboration. However, it’s more important to consider the wider context of a particular project. And literature can teach you to analyze things deeper, discovering the whole context of the story. While reading, you need to keep in mind historical, religious and social settings in order to understand the personalities and behaviours of characters.
Basically, customers are products of their environment, so it’s extremely important to have a great understanding of the context they live and work in. If you continuously consider it while reading, you can learn how it affects people.
What To Read?
There are a lot of literary works that future designers might like. Depending on your preferences, you can pick a fictional book to your taste. If you don’t know how to choose the right one for yourself, check essays on a variety of books for college that contains reviews of the most popular novels. Today, many designers praise ‘Jennifer Government’ by Max Barry, which is a masterpiece that tells how branding identity can spiral out of control. People working in the IT industry also like ‘Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore’ by Robin Sloan, which is actually a multi-award-winning novel. Its plot is centred around the life of a creative web designer who has fallen on hard times and was forced to work in a bookshop.
You can find inspiration in ‘A Kind of Loving’ by Stan Barstow that tells a story of an ambitious draftsman or enjoy reading Chip Kidd’s novel ‘Cheese Monkeys’ that explores the drama of two semesters at art school. Many designers also like ‘The Mezzanine’ by Nicholson Baker, which is a famous stream-of-consciousness novel. If you are interested in the creative life, then ‘The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay’ by Michael Chabon is also a must-read for you.
These are just a few examples that might be interesting for future designers. In fact, there are many more options to choose from. Do some research on the web and allow yourself to be absorbed by the magnificent world of literature. For sure, you won’t regret it if you make reading a part of your daily routine.
Designers are storytellers in their essences. Basically, they build clear and interesting narratives into their designs. And this becomes possible only when one has great empathy, the ability to read between the lines and the skill of interpreting the effects of context. All these can be developed while reading novels. This is actually why designers should be exposed to as many stories as possible.