Management or managing is simply a universal language for all of our problems in daily life. But, management becomes scientific when the academic world made it as one of the main factors towards success, and since then management has turned into formulas believed to be an accurate means for people to reach their success. In my opinion, I believe that managing is understanding the specific object managed. For example economic management will only talk about the understanding of economic. Since the economic principal is to do as little work to gain a mass result, so the economic management is focusing on the efficiency and effectivity. Each distinct object will affect the soul of the management.

There were a lot of managing formulas, such as Operational Management, Monetary Management, Marketing Management, and even Heart Management, Soul Management, Spiritual Management???, etc. The difference between each management is the object, each object has its own specific goal. On the other hand, there is still a universal language that we can take as the principal knowledge of management. Managing is the way for us to earn the goals. Every principal is applied in every object, including design.

When it comes to design management, according to my statement previously, it means that we are talking about understanding the design itself, and one of the main key in design is creativity. Design management is a way to manage creativity, so the next question will be, is it possible to manage your creativity? Is management just going to make limitations in creativity itself? These questions are understandable, because creativity usually relates to the freedom of expression, thoughts, and other form of freedoms which may seem to be contradictory to the idea of management. In my opinion, this is the challenge and the unique quality management in design area needs to have a soul that is essentially anti management. I consider a great design management happens when themanagement and controlling of creativity succeeds without limiting the creativity itself. This is just my own argument, but be sure that design management is a vital issue.

I am not going to discuss design from the eye of creativity, because it go on and on, and I believe that I have not mastered the aspect of creativity itself. The thing that I will explain is design as a practice, that acts as an object and not a verband my  emphasize on  the design management will the management in design project and design company or as I like to say, simply a design office.

Managing a project and an office are two same things for me formerly. I thought managing a design office is doing the design project together as one team in the same institution. But I was wrong, managing a design project and managing a design office are two different things. For example, doing a design project is like cutting hair and the designer is the barber. To cut someone’s hair, the barber needs to learn the good cutting technique, and the new trends of haircut to improve the service quality. On the other hand, in the process of cutting the hair, the barber should understand that the tools are in a good function, such as a clean cloak, clean seat, etc. All of the activities, starting from the preparation, cutting, receiving fee, and cleaning up until the next customer arrives, are the project management.

One day, since the barber has achieved a good reputation, there will be more customers and the barber will feel overstretched with all of his cutting hair projects. In this moment, the barber will think that the barber needs a team to help him, needs an extended room to accomodate more customer, and so, his conclusion is to make a barber shop. On his process of  making the barber shop, the complexity of management has apparently increased because now, henot only needs to focus in giving a good service to his customers, but he also has to think about obtaining the work permit for the barber shop, dividing the jobs between the team, doing a bookkeeping of the transactions, deciding the salary, and even taking care of AC maintenance. All management activities aside from the cutting hair service is what I meant by the office management.

My experience was the same as the barber. At first, I was only doing the design projects, from meeting client to take the client brief, designing and building communication strategy, and developing it visually, also supervising the vendor if my design output  is created in mass. And one day, I decided to open a design office, the thing that I did is increasing in numbers, such as making a CV for my office, or creating the monetary report, making a clear SOP, etc. Even my intensity with graphic design softwares were replaced with the office software.

I hope the previous example will make a clear difference between managing a project and managing an office, and actually the most important thing that I would like to convey in regards of design management is the need for designers to aware about these two types of design management and the difference between these two. With this awareness, I am sure that designer would not only want to learn about design but they will also perceive the importance of learning about these managements as the means to improve their quality as a designer

In the DIY discussionof business and management in design, the most discussed issues are the practical issues and practical problem of design business and management. You can have the podcast of the discussion easily because the DIY committee is really concern about the documentation of this event. And I hope that my writing is going to complement it.

Thanks for reading, I hope we all get the benefits

BayuPrasetya, Managing Director graphichapter /Secretary General of ADGI Surabaya chapter

Photo (cc) flickr user bayareabaw

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Bayu Prasetya