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Pushing Design & Code Down the Priority List

5 months ago from , Designer, Made by Porter

Have you ever got tired of design stuff? Of course if you're new to design, then it's all the craze. But after 15 years working in web and product design, I got over it.

The main reason why I got over design is because: - Design and code is pretty much commoditize. Plenty of companies and/or designers prefer to solve problems via the analogy method. This mean taking what's existing and applying to solve your problem. This can be in the form of UI kits, copying other company's designs, strict design systems, etc. I love a great design system, but coming from a first principles background of building everything from scratch, the move to analogy based problem solving kind of turned me off.

What's happening now is that I'm turning my attention to building businesses and products over just salivating over the next design software. I've seen around the design community that their favorite designers stopped posting case studies and actually started promoting their businesses. I feel like this will be the big thing for the next five years because the industry is becoming more remote and entrepreneurish these days. The older designers are moving on to building residual income.

That's my theory on why probably DN, Dribbble, and other design communities are dying. I mean showing off buttons and practice work is cool, but now the older designers who learned their trade in the 90s and 2000's are probably now moving on to building businesses. I also see the younger designers & coders actually build products now and post articles on how good design & code helps business.

For me, Im moving on from design and code as my go-to career and using design and code to help build ideas and businesses I would like to see flourish. I used to be into the next Sketch or what cool fonts are out these days.

What are some next actions I see from people: - Designers who are trying to move on from 9-5 and freelance being 80% of their cash flow to diversifying their income streams. This in terms pushes design or code down the priority list. This means less websites with portfolios and case studies and more promotion of products and productized services. This means less talking about why design systems work to how can a design system help improve business.

Cast your thoughts below, agree, disagree, or a bit of both.

7 comments

  • Paul Bunyar, 5 months ago

    It seems that this is a natural progression for you. You're growing and maturing and see that you want something different to do. Good for you.

    Personally, I have been working professionally as a graphic designer since 1990. I'm just now being pushed to do more and more digital. That's fine. And I'm sure the pendulum will continue to swing on all these things.

    I love being a designer. I love helping solve the problems of visually communicating a message — especially if that's a good message. I don't want to stop designing. I don't want to run a business. I want to design to help businesses and mostly people communicate their messages. There are many ways to do that. Print is still very, very viable if used in effective ways. Digital is dominating now, but won't forever. People are getting sick of being tied to their devices.

    Let's all work for good. Shall we?

    2 points
    • Chris Porter, 5 months ago

      Agreed. There will be a place for everyone. I don't know if I communicated what I wanted effectively so hopefully I can dive deeper here. I think this goes back to if you're a versatilist, generalist or specialist instead of how much experience you have.

      0 points
  • Thomas Michael SemmlerThomas Michael Semmler, 5 months ago

    I've seen around the design community that their favorite designers stopped posting case studies and actually started promoting their businesses. I feel like this will be the big thing for the next five years because the industry is becoming more remote and entrepreneurish these days.

    This is not new at all and it is not an emerging trend, this has been the normal for quite a few years already. This site had a podcast that had no discussion whatsoever about design, instead it only focused on business and the silicon valley bubble. This site itself came up in a time where it already was normal that people started to call themselves "product designers", even though they still were doing webdesign and nothing else.

    For me, Im moving on from design and code as my go-to career and using design and code to help build ideas and businesses I would like to see flourish.

    Literally everyone is doing that. You are setting yourself up for failure if you just do whatever other people are doing. Focus on what you can uniquely bring to the table and sell that.

    There will always be a need for specialists.

    1 point
    • Chris Porter, 5 months ago

      This is not new at all and it is not an emerging trend, this has been the normal for quite a few years already. This site had a podcast that had no discussion whatsoever about design, instead it only focused on business and the silicon valley bubble. This site itself came up in a time where it already was normal that people started to call themselves "product designers", even though they still were doing webdesign and nothing else.

      Yep, you're right. I've been doing the entrepreneur first, design second thing for a hot minute (3 years). That's my bad for wording issues as I said "I started doing this...".

      Literally everyone is doing that. You are setting yourself up for failure if you just do whatever other people are doing. Focus on what you can uniquely bring to the table and sell that. There will always be a need for specialists.

      I think its mostly the younger designers still looking for the Smashing Magazine type of articles and the "salaried" designer portfolio. A lot of the experienced designers I know of are transforming their portfolios to be more about personal branding since they might be over working salaried jobs.

      Also I agree, there will always be a need for specialists.

      0 points
  • Paul ArmstrongPaul Armstrong, 5 months ago

    I think that's the natural path for many designers. I've been in the business for almost 25 years now, and I've moved from "traditional" graphic design (print work, business collateral), to website design (and building simple, early CSS/HTML), to learning front-end development and backend coding (PHP/MySQL), to launching my own practice (for a decade), to cofounding, building, and growing a startup (for 5 years), to now managing/hiring/developing product designers (UI/UX) to build design teams within corporations.

    Most any designer will eventually have to ask themselves if just executing and delivering design is what they want to be doing when they're 50 (which I am fast approaching). You can make a living doing that, but at some point, depending on the person you are, you will start to ask yourself if that's really what you want to do.

    There are very few designers that get exalted into the world of being sought out and paid insanely well for their solutions. But there is always need for people to communicate, lead, and grow others with what you (may not even realize) you know.

    1 point
  • Diego LafuenteDiego Lafuente, 5 months ago

    Wise rant, mate. I started design in 1996. I started webdevelopment in 1997. I got over it in 2010. Since then I only build business, based on KPIs metrics, data analysis and not design trends, opinions or new tech stacks. We pay atttention to customers. It is a much satisfying job than it was before creating nonsensical consensual designed hipster fantasies that crashed a year after.

    0 points
    • Chris Porter, 5 months ago

      Exactly! I remember one day when I was checking the typical design news on Panda and I was like, "This doesn't excite me anymore". Once I started attaching goals and data to the things I do, I've became excited again. Ever since my first business in 2001, being useful has always made me happy.

      0 points