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Critical thinking is defined as the ability to think rationally, usually in a completely independent and reflective manner. It also involves finding connections between different ideas in a very logical manner.

This is a trait that you do not just use as an engineer or as a scientist. It’s something that also plays an important role in design.

The Role of Critical Thinking in Design

Why is critical thinking important when it comes to design?

Design is not just about the creativity to come up with something unique each time. Critical thinking plays a huge role in almost every step of the process as you work towards your final output.

Here’s an overview of what critical thinking does for a designer like you:

Critical thinking allows you to present ideas in an effective manner.


Pitching ideas to your clients is not just about talking to them about how trendy something is or how aesthetically pleasing it is according to your own taste. You have to think about what your client needs and wants and connect that to your ideas. This is where critical thinking steps in. It is critical thinking that allows you to create logical connections among different design factors.

Critical thinking gives you the chance to make improvements.

Critical thinking helps you assess your own ideas and think about what’s good and bad about each of them. Remember that good designers are talented and have a unique way of thinking that allows them to create something people have never seen before. But for a good designer to be the best at what they do, they also have to acknowledge the fact that there will always be areas for improvement. No design is perfect. And it is critical thinking that allows you to see these areas and figure out how to fix the problem.

Critical thinking allows you to solve problems efficiently.

No matter how seamless your design process is, you have to make room for a few problems here and there. It could be an issue with the tools you use, or a problem with your client’s request. Whatever it is, you have to find the best possible way to solve the problem without causing complete havoc on what’s already been done. This is where critical thinking comes in. For examples, if you needed to write a custom essay for the client, you can easy outsource that.

Critical thinking lets you peek into the future.

When coming up with a design concept, it is ideal for you to think about every possible outcome. You have to make provisions as early as before the project officially starts. Through critical thinking, you are able to rationally plan every path that you could possibly take. It shows you what could possibly happen in the future, allowing you to plan accordingly.

Critical thinking lets you gain new knowledge.

Because a critical thinker is open to different ideas for as long as it is rational and logical, it also opens up the opportunity to learn new knowledge. This becomes critical especially during instances when you have to find ways to make your client’s requests work. Not all of their ideas, after all, have been done before. But this does not mean that you don’t try at all. Through the help of critical thinking, you can find ways to create new processes and approaches to accommodate these challenging requests.

Without a doubt, critical thinking is something that every designer should develop. The good thing about it is that it is a skill that you can polish and perfect as you progress in the field.

Developing Critical Thinking


It’s not just your designs that are works in progress. You yourself can be a work in progress too, as you find ways to become a better designer. When thinking about self-development, it is important that you focus on developing your critical thinking skills. This is something that can take you a long way in the field of design.

Here are a few things you can do to help you improve your critical thinking skills:

Master your biases.

Every person has a few biases – it is part of what makes you who you are. However, this can get in the way when it comes to your designs. Sticking to your own viewpoint each and every time will not only restrict you from taking your work to the next level, it also restricts you from creating effective processes.

Know what your biases are and examine them. Once you know that you have a bias against a certain client request for example, it will be easier to figure out whether your decisions are being made just because of your irrational biases and not because it is best for the project.

Always go back to your purpose.


Critical thinking requires you to think about your purpose as a designer. Consider your goals as your baseline each time you feel like you’re losing your focus. There is, after all, a tendency to overthink. This makes you throw in a lot of things that should not matter at all. And before you know it, this chaos will make you come up with mediocre output, or work that is not at all aligned with what the client wants.

By finding out what you real purpose is not just on a specific project but as a designer in general, you allow your mind to go right back on track no matter how far you’ve gone against it.

Think about cause and effect.

Critical thinking means having the ability to know what the implications of your actions are. This lets you plan according to different outcomes. If you want to be a critical thinker, you have to start training yourself to see what the effects of each action would be. Eventually, the practice will become an automatic thing for you, something that you will do without conscious effort.

A critical mind is important if you want to excel in the field of design. By developing the skill, you can create bigger opportunities for yourself and find ways to continue improving on your craft.

Posted by Igor Ovsyannykov

I'm a digital nomad and entrepreneur bouncing around South East Asia. When I'm not working here, I'm out taking photos for Follow me on Instagram: @igorovsyannykov

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