# Math = design. Jk! UnlessâŠ đł

`// warning: written chaotically on a whim. Maybe I'll turn this into an illustration series because words are not working as well as I'd like.`

I feel like more math majors should become designers. I know, itâs kinda weird because they seem totally unrelated as disciplines â but theyâre not wholly unrelated. For example, problem-solving is central to design despite how notoriously difficult it is to teach.

Enter math. Math is like, problem-solving in its purest form. Just shots of pure problem after problem, straight to the dome for *years.*

If you study math, itâs true that youâd miss out on some of the foundational design skills â like typography and Gestalt principles. But why not learn those on the job? This is just the inverse

So, if youâre a math major and you feel like youâre kinda drawn to things looking nice and working well, consider design. Or if youâre a designer whoâs kind of interested in math or logic, then try it out!

### You start with assumptions and constraints

In order to be successful in both practices, you must know what your assumptions are and lay them out before you begin. Not having a clear understanding of the tools youâre starting with can get you into a pickle.

Math also helps you get used to the idea that there are *always* assumptions. For a problem to exist, there needs to be enough pieces of contextual information that tell you that something is a problem at all. Get used to looking for the assumptions.

### Simple problems get messy quick

Math tends to get really messy in the middle, but eventually simplifies again. Having resilience to deal with increasing complexity is a core skill to have as a designer, because oftentimes simple problems can be quite complex.

Part of building that resiliency is having faith that it will simplify itself again. Itâs really satisfying to see the problem go from a few characters, to 10x characters, back down to a few characters again. Helps you get comfortable with convergent and divergent thinking.

### Unpacking definitions gets you far

One of the beginning strategies to completing a math proof is that you can start to define everything in your given assumptions. This is also good practice in design, and ultimately comes down to alignment. Do all your stakeholders agree on how weâre defining âsuccessâ? Does your team have a shared understanding of the problem?

### Clear communication is paramount

For every piece of math homework, Iâd have a giant chicken scratch notebook where I actually did the dirty work in my thinking. When Iâm turning it into the professor, though, I rewrote it into perfect sentences according to the âgenreâ of mathematical proofs. Know your audience â you can pass your chicken scratch to

### Design is all subjective. Well math isnât âobjectiveâ either

Ok listen. All of math boils down to logic and true/false binary, so how can math possibly not be âobjectiveâ? 2+2 is always 4. BUT, 2+2=4 also pre-supposes axioms that happen to work out pretty consistently in our world, but that doesnât have to be true (and they actually arenât, depending on what scale youâre looking at and how many dimensions youâre dealing with). If you change of the basic axioms of mathematics, you end up with totally different outcomes, like non-Euclidean geometry, where parallel lines heckin intersect. Woah.