Designing with Empathy

Posted on September 7, 2018

In this day and age, we have so many distractions and as a freelancer designer, I’m not gonna lie, sometimes it’s hard to work.

Having to be “connected” at all times of day means you have to have multiple devices around to get work done and stay in reach.

More than ever lately, I have been manifesting on the question of,  “What keeps me motivated?”

At first, my daily vices of coffee, avocado toast and cuddles with my cat came to mind.

After a moment, other words such as connection, intention and purpose took center stage.

Staying motivated for me is so much more than having multiple cups of coffee, completing a task, pressing send and then starting that cycle all over again.

In my search for an answer, I keep going back to the ‘Why’.


Why am I interested in keeping going? Why do I feel the need to connect with others? Why is work important to my self love?

It comes down to being interested in the ‘Why’ of the people I am in contact with that have stories and visions. That also are seeking their own ‘Why’s’.

Thinking outside of my own perspective and using empathy throughout my design process motivates me more than anything else.

But what exactly is Empathy? And how does it relate to design?

Empathy is the ability to see the world from a perspective that differs from our own and the understanding that people see, feel and experience the world in very different ways.

In relation to design empathy, it is defined as a ‘deep understanding of the problems and realities of the people you are designing for’.

As a creator, I use empathy to find out my clients vision and purpose and then strategize as to how I can positively build upon this purpose.

Sometimes it is a much harder road to climb than others. But the top of the hill is worth it.

Am I contributing to others overall business goals? How will my designs continue to benefit my client’s into the future?’.

These questions allow any other creatives to not look at each item as a single design task but rather how are we contributing to the bigger picture of our client’s business.

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