Dragan Babic enables design.

Design as craft is over

Design is like cooking. Most people need the nourishment, only a few want a gourmet meal.

I've started my career as a designer a long time ago when things were much more simple. I absolutely believed that I was a craftsman, and I considered my job to be more alike the carpenter's, rather than any “white collar” job out there.

There was pride in accomplishment, and a sense of worth based on the sheer amount of effort which went into the result. It was very much personal. At least it was this for me, as I was a type of designer who always needed to suffer in order to produce something of value. This fact has shaped much of my thinking and doing in life in general, excuse the tangent.

There's a lot of that these days as well, but today's market seems to be favoring a different kind of design, though. Modern tools enable designers to abstract many layers of work which needed to be executed by hand each time, e.g. UI kits, and ready-made design systems, not to mention recent leaps forward in AI and its application to the design process.

Today, design work is more curation and direction, rather than creation.

Since the design process is now much more efficient and faster, the market took note and no longer allows for the same terms we were used to back when we were crafting design. It's more “right here, right now” than “right things, done right”.

This may sound like a lament, but I assure you it is not. Design as a profession is changing, and the reason I am writing this is to make sure to send a signal to whomever is reading, that if you don't adapt you will become obsolete. Be thoughtful about the environment you are practicing your craft in, and try to put yourself in the best possible position to foresee the changing of the tides, or in the worst case scenario, react.

Don’t spend your career trying to become a chef, when all you needed to be is a cook. 


What's this?

Dragan Babic is a design consultant enabling creatively challenged organizations to nurture design, and work with design professionals in productive ways.

You are reading his blog.