How Art Informed My Design Career : Part 3

Navigating the Crossroads

Antara Basu
4 min readMay 16, 2022

Read Part 1

Read Part 2

Understanding the importance of process and the mechanics of Art Thinking and Design Thinking is all great, but we’ve now arrived at the cloudy amalgamation of the two. The ideas shared in Part 3 are a far more recent articulation that I’ve realised with the gift of hindsight, and I hope that it makes as much sense to anybody reading as it does to me. Or maybe, in the most appropriate illustration of just how subjective creativity is, it will make no sense at all. I invite you to give it a try.

Photo by Stephen Leonardi on Unsplash

“Superprocess? What?”

This isn’t by any means a guide to using the ideologies of Art and Design as one unified process. Everyone’s creative journey is unique and I’d argue that even those trained to use design thinking tools will each have their own spin on it. I was lucky enough to be able to apply the ideologies and thinking tools I learnt at art school into my design career in a way that didn’t eclipse either knowledge base.

I like to believe that I’ve developed a kind of hybrid “Superprocess” in my work that combines the best of both worlds and delivers strong results. I liked using the term Superprocess because it had a nice ring to it, and also made me feel like I was doing something important. At the risk of undermining my achievements, I now think the reality was a lot simpler than that. I may be doing something important, but it doesn’t need to be complicated. It really boils down to simple observation and fervent curiosity, supplemented in large part by my keen interest in human psychology.

Tasty Inspo!

You may have noticed in Part 2 that I used a specific term while speaking about both Art and Design Thinking — Inspiration. I would describe inspiration as the feeling of cerebral upliftment that you get when you come across something that sets your mind rolling down the path of making connections. One leads to another, which leads to another, until suddenly you find yourself standing face-to-face with an idea that could significantly touch, influence, maybe even improve, the lives of others. To me, it tastes somewhat like honey. Please don’t ask why, I would not be able to tell you.

Tasty Inspo! Photo by Susan Wilkinson on Unsplash

Inspiration is something that is imperative to Art Thinking as well as Design Thinking, but the difference lies in the way in which we go looking for it. Most Designers I know will have a list of bookmarked websites or open tabs that they’ll quickly switch to and start browsing- many even use Instagram. The obvious fact is that the internet allows an incredibly vast source of information at our fingertips, accessible anywhere and anytime we want or need it. This, however, is only secondary research. Primary research is just as important, if not more, in the quest for information that paves the way for inspiration. Enter, the human element.

Designers inevitably have their own methods of primary research that should not be sidelined, but an artist’s primary research is the defining element of my Superprocess. It comprises observations and interactions, perhaps even interviews. At its core, it examines the relationship between people and their environment(s) at a more emotional level, delving into the forces that drive interactions, the motivations, expectations and relationship, and the ever-changing relationships between these.

Most of us stand to gain from a creative process that emphasises the human element. In my case, it enabled me to understand people at a deeper level, solve problems with empathy. It also influences the way I experience my own environment. A walk through a bustling neighbourhood is as much a treasure trove of insight and inspiration as the internet, an evening at my favourite coffee shop becomes a fresh perspective on how people behave when they are lonely or nervous. If I was to oversimplify, my well-kept secret ingredient has always been the good old practice of people-watching.

I’d leave you with a word of encouragement to start the practice of people-watching and adopt creative thinking and similar processes into any work that you do. The purpose of this 2000-word brain dump was mainly to illustrate that creative thinking and the creative processes are not only meant for creatives. It’s about broadening your horizons and imbibing what the world shows you, converting that into useful insights and inspiration which can be implemented in interventions that make an impact.

If you have thoughts, opinions and ideas shared in this article, I’m all ears! Let’s learn together.

Photo by Matt Palmer on Unsplash

I hope you enjoyed reading this 3-Part article (3-Particle?) as much as i enjoyed writing it. I’m a graphic designer and I write about art, design and pretty much anything parallel to them and will be uploading every two weeks, or every month, depending on the humaneness of my employer. If you are my employer — don’t worry, I think you’re hella humane.

Stay informed!



Antara Basu

I write about Graphic Design, Product Design and my unruly emotions. Peruse my thoughts here, or see my work at