Lessons in Design Professionalism from a 75-year-old designer

My father, Savas Atvur, used to tell me "the difference between an amateur and a professional is the attention to detail." It became a mantra for my personal and professional life. As a former designer, he would craft each of his presentations and prototypes with such attention to detail that the preparation alone would impress the client, even if the concept didn't feel just right.

My father knew that such an approach is what leads to a client's trust in an architect, a designer, an engineer or any other type of innovator. If you demonstrate enough of these characteristics, your reputation will naturally improve in your creative work. 

I collected some of the key characteristics of my favorite innovation professionals. If you are interested in developing in your career, consider how you can on anything from this list.


  1. Being Punctual
  2. Being Authentically Positive
  3. Dressing Appropriately for the Environment
  4. Avoiding Profanity or Emotional Hyperbole
  5. Showing Support to Colleagues
  6. Avoiding Gossip
  7. Maintaining Calmness During Stress 
  8. Resolving Conflicts Diplomatically
  9. Maintaining Honesty
  10. Acting Authentically
  11. Honoring Commitments (Reliability)
  12. Honoring Secrets (Corporate Ethics)
  13. Showing Unconditional Respect
  14. Acknowledging Mistakes
  15. Leads when it serves team
  16. Following when it serves team
  17. Unconditional Politeness
  18. Listening with eye contact and without interruption
  19. Taking clear, organized notes during meetings
  20. Developing General Knowledge
  21. Developing Specialized Knowledge
  22. Maintaining Integrity and Image
  23. Developing Emotional Intelligence
  24. Managing Time
  25. Staying Organized
  26. Maintaining a Clean Work Environment
  27. Designing and Communicating Information Clearly
  28. Maintaining Device Etiquette
  29. Maintaining Correspondence Etiquette
  30. Maintaining Meeting Etiquette


  • http://careerplanning.about.com/od/workplacesurvival/a/professionalism.htm
  • http://www.jwilliamsstaffing.com/blog/professionalism-in-the-workplace/
  • http://career-advice.monster.ca/in-the-workplace/starting-a-new-job/10-ways-to-be-professional-at-work-canada/article.aspx
  • http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/professionalism.htm
  • http://smallbusiness.chron.com/importance-professionalism-business-2905.html