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Friday, June 24, 2005

Is design a commodity?

So, I was reading a very interesting thread on the Core77 boards. Usually the content is inundated with whiny junior designers that are complaining because life is not as easy as they thought. However, one fellow designer posted is concerns about leaving the industrial design profession after about 10 years. There are lots of interesting arguments into why he should or should not leave, but no one has talked about why people fall out of love with design. Well, this is why:

It's sad to hear of designers that have such strong capacities and aptitudes but ultimately become dissatisfied with the fact that as Michael McDonough puts it, " 95% of any creative profession is [crap]." Design is definitely getting more press these days, and as a result, designers are becoming more and more of a commodity. Since there are more designers, there is a stigma growing that there is a scarcity of creative control.

The typical scenario involves somebody who is not happy because his sole existence is to do the evil bidding of his boss by tomorrow morning at the latest. The all-nighters have taken their toll on enthusiasm for the design process. Well, you are not sad because there is a lack of creative control in your life. You are sad because you stopped loving the process. It is not the end result that makes us designers; it is the process that we use to design that makes us. I have a tough time designing something that does not interest me in the least, but I still love learning about new subjects and getting inside the heads of those whose lives may benefit from the widget that could be mistaken as landfill-fodder.

Design is becoming commoditized because there are more and more designers that have entered the industry with no thought process, just some stylish moves they learned in school. They have breaded themselves from the beginning into becoming nothing more than the tool of the boss. Remember the design process! Remember that it is your job to come up with the questions as well as the answers!