Think about the last time you bought a pair of shoes. You may have seen them first online, on an influencer’s IG page or in a TikTok video. Then, you went to the store to try them on and, perhaps, after thinking about them for a while and evaluating the alternatives on the internet, you bought them on an e-commerce platform. Behind this process, which is called the customer journey, there is the service designer.
They are literally the designers of services. The professional who plans the experience of a service in a way that is satisfactory for the customer (simple to use, engaging on an emotional level) and, at the same time, effective and efficient for the organisation that offers it. Their job consists of organising all the elements (people, infrastructures, digital systems, etc.) of a service with the aim of optimising their use. This is achieved through observation: they verify people’s behaviour, identify with them and identify their needs. Starting from here, they design the service, taking into consideration both the tangible aspects, such as the physical products involved in the process, and the intangible touchpoints (for example, communication). Often their goal is the redesign, the improvement of “something” that already exists. In other words, they need to intervene on an active service, which has shown flaws or, more simply, has room for optimisation.
The service designer can have a degree in design or have a humanistic background (for example, studies in sociology or psychology). This should be combined with post-graduate training in the specific field of service design, which allows them to acquire the technical and methodological skills necessary to carry out the profession.
Empathy is key. A good service designer knows how to step into someone else’s shoes, whether it’s a bank customer or the buyer of an e-commerce site. Knowing how to listen to people, understand their needs, even (or, better, above all!) when they are not clearly expressed, is essential for anyone working in this field. Equally important are communication skills. It is necessary to be able to relate to a vast range of people: from the end user to the business director, from the marketing manager to the IT technician. Then, to have a vision is very important. The service designer has a holistic approach: they know how to see the activities and processes as a whole, and how to grasp the picture in its entirety. However, this does not mean that they are not attentive to the details, and to the individual elements that contribute to the creation of the final result.
The service designer mostly uses research tools, paper or digital, such as Figma, Miro and Survey Monkey which can be used for building and visualising Customer Journeys, Stakeholder maps and Service Blueprints, used during customer research phase.
This professional is in great demand in the market. They can therefore, find employment in the public administration or the service industry (such as a bank). Alternatively, they can join a consultancy firm or a specialised agency. Finally, they can also operate as a freelancer, offering their services directly to companies.
The service designer can develop their skills within the Master in Service Design of Domus Academy that is designed for candidates who have a first-level degree and/or professional experience in visual and graphic design, interaction design, architecture, or creative coding. It is also open to candidates with a background in business design, communication science, new media, psychology, sociology, or equivalent, if they are motivated by interest in service design and possess a strong portfolio.
There are two types of Master in Service Design at Domus Academy. The Academic Master (60 ECTS credits) is developed over 5 modules, a curricular internship and a final project workshop and it allows to gain an Academic Master’s Degree accredited by the Ministry of University and Research (MUR), a qualification recognised in Europe and worldwide, as well as a Domus Academy Master Diploma. With the Double Award Master (90 ECTS credits), students have the opportunity to integrate the course of study consisting of 5 modules, a curricular internship and final project workshop, with additional lessons and a more in-depth individual project thesis. With the Double Award Master, students can obtain an Academic Master recognized by the MUR and, in addition, a Master of Arts officially recognized by the British system (Privy Council) and issued by Regent’s University London.
The Domus Academy’s Master in Service Design covers theoretical courses in Storytelling & Visual Narrative, Design Thinking, Business for Design, Professional Accelerator Activities and the Experience Design and Service Design workshops. Moreover, students are required to attend an elective workshop to be chosen among Strategic Brand Management, Entrepreneurship through Design, Identity Design, Envisioning, Tangible Interactions and Product Strategy.
Domus Academy’s Master in Service Design offers a cross-disciplinary approach through which students acquire prototyping, problem-solving and business skills. Through field research and user observation, students identify unmet needs, developing innovative solutions, thanks to the ability to design physical and digital systems and working closely with professionals, companies and public sector organisations.
With Domus Academy’s Master in Service Design, students have the opportunity to work as service designers, experience designers, design researchers and design strategists in design consultancies, large companies and service companies, as well as in NGOs, agencies government and research institutes, or start their own consulting business.