iStock_000018900796XSmallThis year FastCompany.com posted an article called Meet The 13 Designers on Fast Company’s Most  Creative People List showcasing designers specializing in a range of industry professions from the development of mobile “phablets” (a hybrid cellphone/tablet archetype popularized by Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2) to urban development projects protecting some of America’s most prominent cities from natural disasters like hurricanes and flooding. Noticing a pattern, I wrote down a few of the similarities linking these creative minds. After all, creativity is an important part of building and expanding business ideas. Here are a few things that most of the creative designers on the list have in common:

Designers think on a global level – Dong-Hoom Chang, head of design at Samsung gets his ideas from traveling the world. These adventures inspired his iconic, round, pebble shape cellphone design with water-ripple effects on the touchscreen used today by many companies. Likewise, Liz Muller is a designer helping Starbucks cafes around the world recognize that different cultures require different strategies to enhance their aesthetics and leverage a region’s charm effectively. Muller keenly researches a country’s society and makes adjustments to the design of new cafés accordingly. For example, she rearranges the furniture to accommodate big crowds or single customers depending on the country’s social norm.

Designers engage multiple senses – The best designs are the most interactive. Leave it to Disney Research to invent a computer program that uses AC electrical currents to make everyday objects (like a common plant) touch sensitive. When connected, the Touche makes any object’s “skin” touch-sensitive like the screen of a tablet or cell phone. The program can translate touch into spectrums of sound and visuals which can enhance any tactile experience.

Designers design end products that appeal to the masses – Professional designers are usually designing with a purpose in mind – perhaps they have a problem they are trying to solve or an audience they are trying to please. Ian Spalter is the director of design and UX for Foursquare. Spalter says that the secret behind designing his company’s successful app lays in using an interactive agency to create Mad Lib style press releases for the product before it is created. The press release helps the company establish a user prototype before development so that during the engineering process, the Foursquare team can think about features and functionality from a practical standpoint. They can ask themselves, “Would our ideal customer prefer this or that?”

Creativity is one of the most important skill traits a person can have when working in any industry. Let us know what inspires your stellar designs and leave a comment below!

-Lee Sumner, Research Analyst

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