State of Design – Results 4: What kind of work?


In chapter 4 of the State of Design survey, we dive into the kind of work you do as a designer: How do you work, with whom and where, what tools and methods you use as a designer, and much more.

Around one-third of the respondents were one-man bands, so it is unsurprising that almost 30% work alone. That, however, doesn’t hide the fact that design is a collaborative, cross-disciplinary field. (The combined numbers allot to more than 100 % since some respondents ticked off multiple boxes – a little bit strange given the type of questions)

How do you work?

We were also interested to see whether there were beginning to form specializations within the design processes themselves, but to a large extent, it seems that it is still, in large, a holistic discipline, where the individual designer is a part of the project in its various inceptions.

How do you experience your role as a designer?

Wherever there is collaboration, there are also meetings! Being a designer is about much more than just designing.

What activities do you typically work with?

Since there are no avoiding meetings, there is no avoiding the presentation tool either. But next after these, we have the usual Adobe suspects. Miro and Figma have also made a name for themselves in the last few years, and in our comments for this question, we had a lot of people praising Figma.

What are your tools?

The classical formats and methods are dominating, it seems. But it is also interesting to see the actual recommendations by fellow designers.

What methods do you use?

No business without clients. State of Design also dove into the client-designer relationship, and we are happy to be able to conclude it is going well. Over 60 % of the respondents had contact with their users or customers at least once a week – meeting them online, or at their place, or bringing them into the designer’s home turf.

How often are you in contact with your users or customers?
How do you collaborate?

Most of your clients are private companies, but almost half also do business with the public sector.

Which type of clients do you or the company you work for have?

Distance and culture seem to matter when it comes to clients.

Where are your clients located? 

We were interested in seeing how design-mature designers rate their organizations – going from unrecognized to embedded. A note: quite a few of the respondents came from design agencies, which clearly brings the level of “embedded” up.

Maturity of Design in your Organization

After that, we mapped where the design was located in the organizations.

Where is design located in your organisation?

Then we thought it could be interesting to see the extent of design and how design spreads throughout the organizations moving from organizations where design is unrecognized to those where it is embedded. Although a bit speculative, the data suggests that it often starts in communications or R&D, but as the organization matures, it quickly spreads through IT, digital channels, and Marketing.

Design’s maturity level is: Unrecognized
Design’s maturity level is: Interested
Design’s maturity level is: Committed
Design’s maturity level is: Engaged
Design’s maturity level is: Embedded

Finally, we asked about ownership and responsibility for design in the organization.

Is there a clear design process in your organization?
Is it clear in your organization who is responsible for design?
Do you have ownership over the design questions in your organization?

That’s it for now. We will be back soon with the next and penultimate chapter, which will be about the role of leaders and their workforce.