Monday, May 14, 2007

Now it's official: "Designers suck!"

And here comes Bruce Nassbaum saying out loud what most of us silently thought ( Are Designers The Enemy Of Design ).

For the past 10 years, I have worked on a bunch of projects that won major interactive commercial design awards(CyberLions, SxSW, Communications Arts Magazine, CNMA, Webbys, etc).

There are a couple of points in Bruce’s article that I'd like to develop.

1. Democratized design
With all the online tools available, everybody is a designer nowadays. Remember Geocities (or MySpace)?

And every print designer or painter or cartoon writer or web designer or photographer or movie editing person thinks she can do all of the above, at once.

2. Sustainability in design
He argues that designers are too ignorant to create sustainable products and he goes on to give Apple as an example.
How about making Steve Jobs the expression of designer's arrogance, or maybe the other way around... Steve's arrogance created the all-knowing designer.

My personal experience comes from interactive design. The lack of sustainability in design is even deeper than what Bruce mentions.

All web development companies have horror stories about designers ignoring:

a. the information architecture existent in storyboards

b. designers pushing their 'beauty concepts' in spite of marketing and branding needs

And regularly i get: "Well that is the fault of project managers."
Actually the project managers are overwritten by higher managers with a lack of branding or architecture experience.

Because, yes, sustainability also means not reprogramming several particular (and generally useless) cases for every functionality just to accommodate an arrogant and bad design.

But, I preach to the deaf...

3. Here I have to disagree with Bruce.
Design has been replaced by creativity not by innovation, because innovation is creativity in motion. Although I understand why VPs like the term.

And still creativity is the wrong term too. Since creativity includes also the way to produce innovation. But I digress.

In any case, great article! Too bad it comes up after the PCWorld fuckup with 10 Things We Hate About Apple.

Great news, the world is waking up!

-- Octavian Mihai

P.S. Designers, you know I still love you... Just caught me in a grumpy mood...


akrok said...

I think Bruce got some great points, you also point them out. And yes. sustainability is the only way to go.

keep rockin'


Jonathan Bélisle said...

Wow !! Octavian Mihai has his own Blog.

I am very happy of the depth of your first note.

I would also add that the real problem arise with the words we use to describe things.

Wrongly phrased concepts or strategies often breed horror stories way before they become a manifest reality.

Anyways...Nice Conversation Starter.

Sometimes its good not to make friendly comments.

The Truth Hurts.