Everything looks nice, but I still don't believe that IBM is design-led.
They're certainly not design-led, but they are starting to change their attitude towards it. It's a massive company with so many ongoing concerns that it will take some time before the culture places design front and centre, but they are taking small steps to get there.
And nor should they be. Design is just one part of the user experience.
As a designer who's contributed their 2¢ to this first pass-around of this IBM Design Language, I can assure you that the company is most certainly not design led at the moment — we're talking about a company that's approximately 400,000 people! The initiative that is IBM Design has been established to very directly take the legacy of IBM, which has been steeped in design leadership (Rand, Eames, Noyes, et al), and rekindle that x 100.
The 'recent' initiatives that culminated in this new wave of design-led product development at IBM are probably better described as a quick-moving skunkworks–operation at this point. The specific team that built this is relatively small to IBM standards, and it's fully-understood that like any language, dialect, or code-speak, this documentation is a living organism that is rapidly evolving and subject to interpretation.
That all being said, like any great and difficult design challenge, what's been released today will evolve and be iterated upon as the designers/developers here better understand what exactly it means to design at the massive scale IBM is pushing.
“Escape the ordinary,” it says... on a page with:
- a completely flat design
- using a bright colour palette
- and simple vector graphics
- starting with a section that takes up an entire screen, but includes no content
- followed by full-width horizontal colour bands dividing the rest of the page all the way down
- containing short text snippets in relatively large, sans serif fonts
- with a large, blurred background photograph
- accompanied by unnecessary and distracting animations all over the place
- with a few navigation links that are totally indistinguishable unless you hover over them
- and of course some photographs of mobile devices showing screenshots.
I appreciate the effort, but I think they’ve still got a little way to go to escape the ordinary. :-)
I'm currently interning at IBM. For such a company with over a hundred years old history is not easy to make the change ,but people are working hard on that.
Agreed. I interned at IBM for two summers in a row, they definitely are taking major steps in the right direction and I'm excited for their future.
I don't know how true it actually is and how related to the Apple partnership it is but I quite like this new design-oriented IBM thing.
I'm working on some internal IBM projects and can say it is all true :)
Hi fellow IBMer :)
Well hello! I just followed you on Twitter ;)
As a comment, work in the group too and you're right, not 100% yet but getting there. Everything isn't perfect yet but its been interesting to see how such a large company takes on this process.
Nice to see more languages coming out with full fledged UX that isn't just logo usage, typeface and 3 colors.