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Design has an identity crisis.

Our primary job is to visualize possibilities

12 years ago, I was a visual designer (or an interaction designer if I want to be fancy). I worked alongside researchers, information architects, copywriters, and design technologists. Now I do it all.

I’m a full-stack designer.

I see the word “generalist” thrown around as the design profession collapses into a single, ambiguous role. Our work (design thinking) has morphed into a rigid, repeatable process that is barely creative. Check out this devastating take on the current state of design by Rune Madsen in his article ‘Product Design Is Lost’:

“Driven by a desire from businesses to turn design into a process-heavy, measurable function, we’re filling our time with checklists instead of focusing on the very thing that makes designers relevant: our ability to propose new points of view and delight users with meaningful experiences. These core competences that were inherited from graphic design have been replaced with a poor man’s version of an anthropology major where the act of design is mostly based on averaging user opinions.”

I’m not a researcher. I’m a designer that does research.

Ideally, design spans the spectrum of product vision to technical implementation. But we’ve gotten stuck somewhere in the middle, cranking out more personas, user interviews and wireframes. But hey, at least we’re delivering something.

And along the way we’ve also lost the “delight” part of our work.

Envisioning new ideas is our main job. Let the PMs and engineers worry about the viability and feasibility of the ideas. That doesn’t mean design works in a silo. A full-stack designer can own and collaborate on any part of the product development process. I can jump in with PMs to set a holistic product vision and also partner with engineers to realize that vision as delightful, working software.

Design softens the business world of cold, hard numbers.

A designer’s job is to get people excited about the art of the possible. And that’s what gets me excited about my work every day.

Dream big.

I tweaked this on Wed Apr 24 2024 00:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)