northtemple journal of design  ~  September Issue

The Road to Design Expertise

Chinese philosophers and graphic designers in equal tow, John pulls off at a rest stop to lift a signpost on the road to becoming a design expert.

posted by John Dilworth on Tuesday, Sep 02, 2008
tagged with design, design expertise


It’s a great read! Developing skill in anything takes diligence, persistence and a lot of hard work and humility. You’ve just got to keep learning, and remain teachable and humble – always looking for the growth opportunities in your present work and whatever feedback comes your way while doing it.

comment by Daniel Scrivner 19 minutes later

Design… just like life! I am repeatedly amazed at how the threads of my world [personal, professional, spiritual] all have the same needs – to clearly understand where i am right now, and where i want to go – and day-in, day-out actively participate in my life rather than just letting it happen.

comment by Bea Rigby 15 hours later

I think the most important factor when self evaluating is weather or not you are progressing. If there is progress then you are doing good.

This life is never meant to be stagnate, life is all about progress and change. Just as the seasons bring change, so should we as individuals.

Thanks, I really enjoyed reading this.

comment by Shane about a day later

Daniel, Bea, Shane – Thanks for leaving your thoughts.

I’m seeing an over-arching theme here about “becoming and active participant” in your life, not just in your career. I think as soon as we start thinking that we’ve completed or mastered something, it probably only means that we’ve quit looking around, that we’ve given up.

comment by John Dilworth about a day later

John, as always, you deliver. I was drawn to many aspects of your writing but a few things caught my attention and really got me thinking. I’m the type of person who looks back an life experiences and recignizes the opportunities where I could have applied myself more. Because of that, I try to take everything that comes my way now and in the future with as much zeal as possible. I especially like what you wrote about time and the use of our time. I’ve always been one to say, “Some people complain that they don’t have enough time, while others use it wisely.”

I enjoyed this read very much and hope that you don’t mind that I pass it along to others, including non designers. It’s a life message to me. The design aspect is the icing on the cake. Well done.

comment by KDAY 2 days later

Thanks again for another inspiring article. I have been thinking this topic trough quite a bit lately in regards to design, but also in spiritual, and professional life as well.

I have been evaluating my “expertise” and growth as a designer/developer, which at times feels like trudging through mud. The comparison of a designers life to that of a child was great and really added perspective.

I have been encouraged and challenged in my growth as a designer, and am sure i will be applying these principals in other areas of life as well.

Thanks again

~ Aaron I

comment by Aaron Irizarry 6 days later

Kevin, Aaron – Great comments. I didn’t really think about it as a “life lesson” when I started writing this, but I realize that it really is that way. Making yourself better in any way becomes a spiritual activity, because it takes everything you’ve got, and you have to dig deep inside yourself to find the motivation and strength to do it.

comment by John Dilworth 6 days later

Thanks John, I have often learned that once i have learned a lesson, or instituted a discipline in my life, it makes it easier to apply that knowledge/discipline to other areas of life.

In pushing myself to grow as a designer/developer and perfect my craft, I can mostly likely apply some of those lessons to becoming a better employee, father etc… whether in the areas of discipline, humility, and determination, or by applying the ability to teach, be patient and problem solve… i guess i have found it useful to recycle lessons :)

comment by Aaron Irizarry 7 days later

Nice article John. I appreciate how you’ve taken three principles and put names on them. I find that quite often, putting a name on something helps me to remember it better so that I can actually follow through later.


comment by Michael Jackson 9 days later

I enjoyed reading this essay and especially enjoyed reflecting on how it relates to most aspects in life. I find that the line: ”...there‚Äôs lots to learn, lots to remember, and lots of ‘doing’ to be done” pretty much sums up what I personally learned from the text. I’m looking forward to more from this brilliant series!

comment by Nadjib 9 days later

I just wanted to say thank you John for writing this article. I have just graduated from college but it wasn’t in a design discipline. I have discovered, however, that I would be interested in design but I wasn’t sure what direction to take. This article really gave me some good insight on how to get myself on the right road. Thank you.

comment by Derek Caswell 22 days later

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