The stage of design discourse [A wake-up call for designers?]

From the community of curious and capable builders, we’ve reduced ourselves to superfluous discussions, using comic relief for social media vanity, and tired peripheral discussions that constantly avoid the problem at hand: Our worsening love and obsession over the craft.

Hardik, Head of Design (Unacademy)
✨ Let’s look at the state of Design discourse of late – A lot of chatter around Design lately has gravitated towards everything that surrounds the profession of being a designer than design itself. Let me explain:
Design started out with an obsession that consumed the designer to a point of permanent dissatisfaction that helped them relentlessly chip away at their work, to improve the user’s experience. The pixels mattered. The output mattered.
There was an air of fresh enthusiasm about design, and possibilities. People used to discuss problems and how design could solve them. Design innovated constantly. Design took a lead.
And then we got the coveted seat at the table. We found our place in the industry. And everything changed. Our focus shifted to different things – the ‘profession’ of being a designer than the job of designing itself.
Today, the domain is losing some of its brightest minds to mindless debates that discuss the meta peripherals when the energy could be much better spent by applying it to problems. I’ve been at fault at times too, but I was fortunate to have friends who kept me in check.
There’s a certain air of complacency in the things we discuss. Maybe we think the most pinching problems are solved and there’s not much left for designers to do. Maybe our idle minds are filling the daily void by focusing on the title more than the job itself.
From the community of curious and capable builders, we’ve reduced ourselves to superfluous discussions, using comic relief for social media vanity, and tired peripheral discussions that constantly avoid the problem at hand: Our worsening love and obsession over the craft.
Maybe we’ve idolized incorrectly. We celebrate fast growth, quick rise to ‘stardom’, growing titles and increased responsibilities as hallmarks of success as a designer. All this while the craft sits in the corner waiting for its seat at our table.
For the folks who’re deeply embedded in the craft and spend their time getting drained every day with a file full of possibilities and a head full of uncomfortable excitement from building new and better stuff, know that you’re not alone. We’ve only gotten started.
There are a ton of problems out there that we need to solve. We’re presented with a fantastic opportunity in a profession that’s now widely recognized and revered. Let’s respect it and get to work. The actual work.
Remember: The biggest service you can do to your users and our community is the work you put out and the bar you raise with it. Everything else is content.
And finally, I’d love to take a lead here with action. There’s something I’ve been thinking of doing with the community for a while now. I’ll share more soon once I put the pieces together. 💌 DM if you’d love to collaborate / know more.
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