I disagree with much of what this guy has said in the other articles. However, this one hits the nail on the head in a lot of places. The backstabbing, cynicism, etc. is rampant in the industry right now (hence why your hilariously dystopian blog posts get so many upvotes). Loved the part about UX designers acting as if they themselves didn't just one day decide to adopt the title and start looking for jobs.
This piece is particularly strong.
The industry has sadly done a really good job at marginalizing what design is and what designers should do.
I watched a couple talks from two years back, one where Josh Brewer claimed if you use Photoshop, you're not designing and one from Megan Fisher realized she should actually be a developer. She pedaled back on that sentiment a bit later.
I disagree wholly that imposter syndrome is the result of not being a rockstar programmer, but rather, the result of not really understanding the history of the design profession and placing it within the context of technology.
There's a lot of noise out there, if you're on Twitter or whatnot. Some folks really like to tell you what to do, what to use, what you are or are not, and why everything you are currently doing is totally wrong. We seem to take a lot of it seriously, even though almost none of it is peer reviewed or properly researched unlike many other publications, and I can't help but think this has led to a lot of insecurity that has led to some of this aesthetic conformity.
We seem to take a lot of it seriously, even though almost none of it is peer reviewed or properly researched unlike many other publications, and I can't help but think this has led to a lot of insecurity that has led to some of this aesthetic conformity.
Very well put. Designers with a strong 'cult of personality' following can have a particularly strong sway with just a tweet or short written article - even if that article is based on nothing more than a whim or a mood. I hope articles like this and comments like yours help to change that!
We seem to take a lot of it seriously, even though almost none of it is peer reviewed or properly researched unlike many other publications,
But design is not science, we can't bring to bear on it the same stringency as we can in more empirically-based subjects. How much of design can we truly 'peer review'?
I was speaking of the words themselves–the essays, the tweets, the hyperbole–mostly of which has no editorial standards to adhere to.
The irony is that Dribbble is itself now a graveyard for UI design excepting those with a cult of personality following.
How is this still a thing?
Watch out, you'll end up on his Twitter feed again... lol
Look through his feed, if you can face the teeny angst on there... you're famous! (at least I think it was you...)
employers increasingly ignore credentials and portfolios and rely instead on nepotism and backscratching.
Sheesh, who are you hanging out with?
I'm sure that it does happen more than we'd like. Fortunately, businesses who operate this way typically aren't sustainable in my experience. Any business worth its salt makes acquiring quality talent a top priority.
Apparently you've never worked in NYC.
I hope you are joking.
I enjoyed this one, well – it made me a bit sad.
Thanks for the in-depth research. I was blissfully unaware of 'UX Designers' attempting to drop the "Designer" part, as I've been forcibly removing the "UX" part from my job titles for years, despite doing everything on the "UX is not UI" t-shirt circle.
How can you say you design experiences and then represent it in half a circle? You're designing half an experience. That's amusing.
We're a weird bunch huh?
EDIT: Oh, and flat design sucks!!!!1
UX practitioners used to call themselves UX Architects, as many come from information architecture and focus on IA, user flows, system architecture and so on. UX Designer is a fairly recent title.
Oh, and flat design sucks!!!!1
The sites for both Beagle and Podio are pretty darn 'flat'...
Firstly, I'm not quite finished reading, but so far this one's my favorite piece yet. Highly recommended, DN.
Secondly, I had to stop by here right away, and just say I'm in stitches after this:
Regardless, what is made abundantly clear on Pixelapse's website is that drawing coherent illustrations was not a business need for their company. This must be true more broadly, because Dropbox themselves acquired Pixelapse even though they could not competently draw a box.
I know it's just a little jab, not meant to be a watertight argument, but the child in me finds this absurdly hilarious. That might be the worst illustrated box I've ever seen.
Keep 'em coming, Eli!
EDIT: Finished the article. Loved it.
Intriguing != Clickbait
Clickbait = "10 things you've never seen before. Number 11 will blow your fucking mind"
Sensationalism = Clickbait.
The glass is always half empty with this guy. Design is an ever changing, morphing beast. Perhaps the app/product boom is leveling off, but design will continue in brand new directions.
I'm thinking of designers like Frank Chimero who were successful in the early 2000s when screen printed posters and unique illustration were all the rage. The demand for design changed and designers like him shifted their skill set. The constant progression and challenges that come with design is why I enjoy the profession.
I'm excited to see how the next phase of design will emerge.
Yes, this guy is never satisfied with "changes" and doesn't embrace them. I totally agree with you. One of the reasons I love design is mainly because what's happened in the past years and how design has shifted so drastically.
The demand for design changed and designers like him shifted their skill set. The constant progression and challenges that come with design is why I enjoy the profession.
Nail on the head. This series gives me the distinct impression of someone refusing to adapt their skills as the design landscape changes around them, preferring instead to complain about how things have shifted, and yearning for the old days.
One clear sign of this is his archaic argument about keeping design and code separate (mentioned in 2 or 3 I think), whereas I feel like code is just another tool to master, another medium in which to express my skills as a designer. Like a painter learning how to sculpt.
And he uses this change to back up his 'fall of design' rubbish, as if design only exists in Photoshop or something. If anything, the scope of a designer has gotten even wider, and more challenging. As with many of his opinions, his particular idea of what 'design' is, is simply outdated.
Minor correction: Apple employs way more than 100 designers.
More than 100 ... and fewer than 10,000 :)
I obviously have no idea of the real number, but "100 designers" would mean we have only one designer for every 500 non-designer folks -- and I can guarantee that's not the case
I tend toward a minimal sort of design but really agree with much of this article.
There is a noted attempt to distance one's self from the "visual" aspect of design as if somehow it's not good enough. Beauty is not a noble pursuit in today's economy.
I have to say I wholeheartedly disagree. Communication is primarily visual and so the visual design will always be important. Further, communication is also emotional and visual design taps into emotions.
I wrote something about this on my blog in 2013: http://miguelbuckenmeyer.com/new/design-as-not-art/
Even the "fathers" of modern minimalism didn't denigrate visual design/communication or separate the problem solving aspect of design from the aesthetic component.
In fact, Bruno Munari's 1966 book "Design as Art" was a call for artists to apply their craft in the context of the modern economy, with no separation of art and functional tools:
"There should be no such thing as art divorced from life, with beautiful things to look at and hideous things to use."
And Massimo Vignelli is often cited for his quote:
“The life of a designer is a life of fight: fight against the ugliness.”
Stopped reading after number three, and won't be giving this sensationalist guff any more of my time.
The guy just doesn't seem to understand aesthetics or modernism, and going by the comments here that still hasn't changed. By his logic something that doesn't have bells and whistles is not aesthetic or 'visual design', whatever that is (awful term). Design must be obvious and shout to exist; subtle and minimal design cannot be aesthetic.
Here's a much better article on design and aesthetics to spend your valuable time on (note the lack of verbal diarrhoea to get the points across): https://ia.net/know-how/learning-to-see
Wonder if I'll make the Twitter wall of fame with this. Hi Tweeters! waves
Eli has some great insight, and echoes a lot of sentiments I've been feeling.
My view is that visual design will eventually become treated similar to how print design is now. While it is beautiful, it will not be an extremely sought-after skill or as lucrative as it is at the moment. Currently, we are in the world of screens--and screens are basically interactive / glorified posters. This is why visual designers are incredibly valuable in this economy, and are often considered drivers of user experience design.
Eventually, my hunch is that technological interfaces will be much less screen-based and much more fully immersive...think VR, voice, actual objects, etc. There will be much less screen-interaction, resulting in less of a need for visual designers.
Granted, people are still looking for ui/visual designers now & it is still a good time to be a designer. However, in the coming few years, I anticipate some changes in technology and think it's a good idea for designers to broaden their skillset now (myself included).
Reading will still be necessary in order to exchange and evaluate ideas. Perhaps by the time we get to the point you depict, print or a technology that is print-like in size and appearance will be our way of reading again.
I love the writing style, something about it makes it very unique and unusual.
Yeah love that long list of out of context quote style.