“Design is thinking made visual.” – Saul Bass

Design Thinking is a cognitive process that requires different skill sets. Some people are naturally adaptive to the process while some need a push to kick start. In today’s capitalist world, the role of design is becoming as important as financing. It is observed that the products termed as ‘design-led’ have outperformed their traditional competitors. The traits and skills of a design thinker are now a prerequisite for emerging entrepreneurs and innovators.

What makes you a successful design thinker? - Sheet1

Though the quintessential traits of designers are considered to be surfaced towards the right side of the brain, in actuality it is an amalgamation of functioning of both the right and left side of the brain. A design thinker is required to do in-depth study and research to produce design solutions to a problem. Thus, to become successful, one should be aware of what it takes to be a design thinker. 

Below are five design mindsets that each of us can develop to enhance our creative thinking aptitude.

Listening Skills: ON! | Design Thinker

What makes you a successful design thinker? - Sheet4

“People ignore designs that ignore people” – Frank Chimero

While many people can create a design, not all are successful designers. They lack being a good listener. Listening allows the thinker to delve deep into questing the problem and deriving the root challenge. Listening skill is a great asset and helps in providing the best possible solution.

Craft A Story

What makes you a successful design thinker? - Sheet7

As a designer, it is equally important to create a story to evolve a solution. From creating sketches to models, these methodologies help in testing the ideas at various stages to get meaningful results. These smaller steps help in creating a clearer picture for a design thinker.

Empathy to User Experience 

What makes you a successful design thinker? - Sheet2

“We spend a lot of time designing the bridge, but not enough time thinking about the people who are crossing it.” – Dr. Prabhjot Singh, Director of Systems Design at the Earth Institute

Empathy is the key to successful design. Thinking from others’ perspectives is what makes a designer an empathetic person. Apart from profits and innovative strategies, a good design thinker should understand the mindset of the end-user and customers. As every problem is unique, its user group is unique too. Thus, the resulting design should be a meaningful solution that can appeal to the people.  

Observe, Learn and Share.

What makes you a successful design thinker? - Sheet3

“Recognizing the need is the primary condition for design.” – Charles Eames

Great design thinkers have a keen eye to notice things that an untrained eye cannot. The ability to observe details helps the designer to visualize the solution to problems. The design thinker should be an explorer. The world is a learning ground, it can teach us a lot if we are ready to explore and learn. 

A good thinker is always willing to share and collaborate with others. Connect with people and not just things. The collaboration between people is a merger of minds which helps in harnessing innovative solutions. 

Optimistic and Vulnerable | Design Thinker


“It’s through mistakes that you actually can grow. You have to get bad to get good.” – Paula Scher

Optimism is a quality that helps to look for an opportunity even in difficult and unfavorable conditions. The world is full of endless possibilities for an optimist. Thus, a design thinker should be seeing the whole world in terms of problems and possible solutions.

Embracing vulnerability requires courage and strength. Mistakes and errors always happen. Design thinkers should accept their weaknesses and failures. They should not strive for absolute perfection as absolute perfection does not exist. As a design thinker, failure and redos should not be taken to heart, but as an opportunity to improve. No matter how challenging the task is, a designer should believe that at least one solution exists.

Hunger your Curiosity!


“Creativity comes from a conflict of ideas.” – Donatella Versace

Upskilling and having the notion of improving oneself benefits all. In the ever-changing world, being constant means being nowhere. Curiosity to improve can unlock different opportunities. Never stop exploring new horizons of your mind. They should stay upfront to question why and what-ifs. They should never let the fuel of curiosity run out. Thinking out of the box and not abiding by traditional thinking methods can help design thinkers to dig deep into problem-solving.

Future-Ready | Design Thinker


“The best way to predict the future is to create it” – Abraham Lincoln

In today’s social media raging world, companies and organizations are striving to stay relevant among investors and people. To do so, they require creative and constructive imagination to redefine the future. A good thinker is keen on the desirable future aspects and has the skillset to communicate those visions to others with clarity. 

Design thinkers need to embrace ambiguity and seek opportunities in the future. It is undoubtedly gaining awareness and is becoming a relevant topic of the future.

Reference List-

  • Dam, R.F. and Siang, T.Y. (2019).  [online] The Interaction Design Foundation. Available at: https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/what-is-design-thinking-and-why-is-it-so-popular.
  • ‌MBA, P.M. (2020). [online] Medium. Available at: https://medium.com/swlh/what-is-the-personality-profile-of-a-design-thinker-8b72a9fc32d8.
  • Anon, (2020). [online] Available at: https://www.d-thinking.com/2020/12/25/7-qualities-of-a-design-thinker/ [Accessed 5 Jun. 2022].
  • ‌Chakravarthy, V. (2018).[online] Medium. Available at: https://blog.prototypr.io/four-traits-of-a-design-thinker-a092a925352b [Accessed 5 Jun. 2022].
  • Invisionapp.com. (2016). Inside Design Blog. [online] Available at: https://www.invisionapp.com/inside-design/qualities-of-design-thinking-leaders/.
  • Invisionapp.com. (2018). 101 quotes about design and creativity | Inside Design blog. [online] Available at: https://www.invisionapp.com/inside-design/design-and-creativity-quotes/.

Ishika is an architecture student, with a bag full of dreams to travel the world. She allures good novels and poetry and wishes to keep learning something new. While you see her relaxing, her mind would probably be in chaos and overthinking about something dumb.