The visual aesthetic of design is what drew me into this profession. I have always been enamored with the way designers can transform seemingly anything into a piece of art that has the power to reach millions in the digital age. For the past three years in my undergrad program, I have meticulously studied grid structure, typography, and color theory, among other interdisciplinary subjects to help aid my abilities as a designer. We have been taught about user experience and how to code (although my brain literally hits a brick wall when it comes to Java), but in my final year, we are just now being introduced to research (and how to properly go about it). Through my Human Centered Design and Technology in Context courses, I have been exposed to the true power research holds in the design process.
I have always been a big researcher, hungry to learn more, understand more, and broaden my perspectives of the complex world we live in. Yet research and design have existed in my mind as two separate entities. Yes, I look for inspiration constantly, adding new ideas and skills to my repertoire, but that has never consisted of data-driven research. 
The demands of today’s communication designers are very different from those placed on commercial artists of the past, according to O’Grady’s design research manual. Designers used to be contracted as vendors, creating deliverables within a timeline. Today, with the power of research driven design, we now have the opportunity to take our practice further and become consultants. This allows us to continue our work with companies without a deadline. If designers learn how to utilize marketing research, we can continue to influence design for the better. 
Outside of a business perspective, research can inform decisions that ultimately make design stronger. I have come to realize that the intention behind aesthetic is just as important as the visual result. We can reach a broader audience more effectively. We can contribute to social movements with our own voice without taking away from the focus on the subject. There is an aesthetic to research itself. It makes our work more approachable, more focused on the humans who interact with it. Shouldn’t that be the goal of our design? Not how pretentious and elite we can make our work appear from our studies of technicalities, but how creatively can we represent and influence the ideas that we as a collective society have for the better.