55 comments

  • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    ...posted on Medium.

    Posted. On. Medium.

    We start companies just to flip them

    Who’s “we”? Certainly not me. Certainly not the designers I know.

    It’s time to fight back.

    Fight what now? Who are we fighting? Why? Are we fighting people flipping companies?

    I’m so confused.

    Oh well.

    • goes back to work •

    35 points
    • Keira BuiKeira Bui, over 5 years ago

      What's wrong with Medium?

      1 point
      • Dustin CartwrightDustin Cartwright, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

        It's more or less became the blogspot of opinions for people like President Obama, your 12 year old cousin, the founder of Facebook, and your friend's grandma. There's certainly some key points that I agree with in the article... But it's definitely dramatized.

        Edit: Not to say having Medium be such an open forum is a bad thing... It's just seems less "legit" to host such a critical opinion focusing on calling people out on there.

        3 points
        • Cole PetersCole Peters, over 5 years ago

          For the record, it was originally posted on my personal blog: http://blog.colepeters.com

          What do you think would have been a more “legit” platform for this article?

          0 points
          • Dustin CartwrightDustin Cartwright, over 5 years ago

            Medium is just that awkward place on DN it seems, nobody around here tends to think well of pieces published there. It's like applying for a fortune 100 company as their president lead designer... With a portfolio hosted on tumblr using a cheap blog theme.

            So in truth, it isn't that your article is bad or even controversial. We all know people like this exist in the design industry (and other industries too) who only want for money and fame. The title is what gets people though... Design culture is a fast moving, vibrant world full of amazing products, services, and people. Some of those people though, have very questionable morals when it comes to what they would do to their customers for money. So instead of "design culture is a frozen shithole"... Perhaps something like "Some designers are disgraceful shitbags" would be more true to the point.

            0 points
      • Darth BaneDarth Bane, over 5 years ago

        It has turned into a platform filled with quasi-experts who all compete for attention using tricks like conflict-driven content and illusion of experience on the topic in question.

        Medium was great in the beginning, but...you know...if you give away cars for free, you're gonna have more accidents on the road.

        6 points
      • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 5 years ago

        Medium is a prime example of Silicon Valley culture. My comment wasn’t a shot at Medium, but a shot at someone who wants to attack the VC-funded, company flipping, start-up culture, using one of the most popular products of that industry.

        My point is that actions speak very loudly. If you want to reject something, don’t use their platform to present your case.

        16 points
    • Dirk HCM van BoxtelDirk HCM van Boxtel, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

      • goes back to work •

      Nailed it.

      7 points
    • Cole PetersCole Peters, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

      It was originally posted. On. My blog., but it didn’t feel quite hypocritical enough, so off to the Valleyblog it went! ;)

      No, actually, I just felt it probably deserved the ability for people to comment on it, and as I don’t have comments set up on my blog, Medium seemed an apt public place for it to exist.

      1 point
  • Namanyay GoelNamanyay Goel, over 5 years ago

    Is it just me, or there's more whiny stuff everyday?

    14 points
    • Nice ShoesNice Shoes, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

      I know. There was a great ending to the book 'Hey Whipple Squeeze This' that puts the creative industry into perspective...

      Page 303 here

      This is, indeed, a great business. This fact was recently brought home to me during a train ride from downtown Chicago to O’Hare airport. I’d just left a very bad meeting where a client had killed a whole bunch of my work. I fumed for the first couple of miles. (“That was a really good campaign! They can’t kill it!”) As I sat there feeling sorry for myself, the gray factories passed by the train windows. Miles of factories. On the loading docks, I could see hundreds of hardworking people. Laborers forklifting crates of Bic pens onto trucks, hauling boxes of canned peaches onto freight cars.They’d been there since six o’clock in the morning, maybe five o’clock.These were hardworking people.With real jobs.

      ...

      ...You’ll be paid a lot of money in this business.You’ll never have to do any heavy lifting. Never have dirt under your fingernails or an aching back when you come home from work. You’re lucky to be talented. Lucky to get into the business.

      5 points
      • Namanyay GoelNamanyay Goel, over 5 years ago

        Great passage, really makes me think how comfortable it is to design compared to what my friends do daily.

        BTW didn't someone recently post an article along the same tones? Can't seem to find it...

        0 points
      • Cole PetersCole Peters, over 5 years ago

        There’s a lot to be said for dirt under yr fingernails and an aching back.

        0 points
  • Andy MerskinAndy Merskin, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    Maybe rather than standing offended, we can quit complaining about someone whining and dig deeper at the issues he's trying to convey by having a conversation to test and discuss these issues.

    He wouldn't have written the article in the first place if he wasn't truly concerned or upset about something he's seeing, particularly in the context of Designer News.

    Let's have some respect, even for opinions that differ to yours.

    I'll just leave this here, and wait for a barrage of nasty comments for those who ignored my point.

    12 points
    • Arma GetronArma Getron, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

      Let's have some respect, even for opinions that differ to yours.

      I'll just leave this here, and wait for a barrage of nasty comments for those who ignored my point.

      The sweet irony.

      7 points
      • Andy MerskinAndy Merskin, over 5 years ago

        Ding ding ding! You're the first one! You win :)

        Well, writing off a real concern as self-righteousness isn't doing anyone any good, now is it?

        2 points
    • Cody SanfilippoCody Sanfilippo, over 5 years ago

      Maybe rather than standing offended, we can quit complaining about someone whining and dig deeper at the issues he's trying to convey by having a conversation to test and discuss these issues.

      Perhaps you should do the same, then :) By saying everyone is whining, you are not adding to the discussion, just merely turning this into a conversation about whining. I do agree that we should be at least trying to discuss the issues, however.

      He wouldn't have written the article in the first place if he wasn't truly concerned or upset about something he's seeing, particularly in the context of Designer News.

      Eh. Look at the title of the article and tell me that it doesn't look like clickbait. It was designed (see what I did there?) to get people to get mad and read it. "WHAT?! MY culture, a frozen shithole?! I think not!"

      I don't know that he's truly concerned, especially considering he himself has posted these so-called “explorations”, “experiments” and “visions” to his very own Dribbble account.

      Let's have some respect, even for opinions that differ to yours.

      Yes, let's. And let's also remember this should apply to you as well. So don't go assuming people will ignore your poi...

      I'll just leave this here, and wait for a barrage of nasty comments for those who ignored my point.

      Oh.

      4 points
    • Darth BaneDarth Bane, over 5 years ago

      "quit complaining about someone whining and dig deeper at the issues he's trying to convey"

      It would be better if the author just dropped the attitude to begin with so we could focus on what he's trying to convey and not how he's doing it.

      0 points
  • Marvin KennisMarvin Kennis, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    Why is it that everytime I read something like this, it's never from someone who actually is a world-class designer?

    I really do appreciate that he himself has REALLY tried to solve some meaningful problems with his design skills and only then started telling everyone else what's wrong with them.

    Like that atrocious mail.app icon, millions of people will be absolutely thrilled by this: https://dribbble.com/shots/1292626-Mail-icon?list=users&offset=23

    Or this new safari icon. I feel like the world hunger issue isn't even a problem anymore now that we have this: https://dribbble.com/shots/1293863-Safari-icon?list=users&offset=20

    Or that horrible vim logo that makes us all depressed: https://dribbble.com/shots/1559479-Vim-replacement-icon?list=users&offset=0

    As your little portfolio on dribbble demonstrates (I wasn't able to find any of your other 'design' works, so that's the only stuff I could reference), you yourself don't seem to be putting in too much effort in making this part of the design community the place you want it to be. You might be doing really meaningful work in the real world, but your public image on the web - where you decided to publish this article - doesn't reflect that, and that seems to be why you're getting a lot of shit here.

    9 points
    • Cole PetersCole Peters, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

      One wonders what difference the status of the author (what is a “world-class designer”, exactly?) would have…

      PS: I commend you on holding up someone’s Dribbble shots as a base for their work as a whole. Great critical analysis.

      1 point
      • Aaron BrodeurAaron Brodeur, over 5 years ago

        He might be poking fun at you for shitting on other people's work ("high school art class" was the term I believe you used) when, in fact, not every calorie you've ever spent was on making the world a better place.

        It's irksome when people hold others to a higher standard than they hold themselves.

        4 points
        • Cole PetersCole Peters, over 5 years ago

          I’m not sure where in my article the notion is given that people should spend 100% of their “calories” on making the world a better place, especially when it says:

          But this isn’t about scoffing at a bit of fun, or attempting to maintain a professional curriculum of grave, high-stakes, high-impact work — there should always be room for light-heartedness and experimentation in our work, but not at the expense of failing to create something greater than ourselves.

          The issue is one of balance. Of course we should all be free to have Dribbble accounts — the question is how much of our time are we spending on making Dribbble shots compared to, say, work that actually impacts our fellow humans?

          I feel that the standards I hold myself to are of a secondary concern here, but if you actually look at the bulk of my work (outlined in a larger comment here, and in the follow-up post) and not just my Dribbble page, I think you’ll find that I do practice what I preach (if it makes any difference to you).

          1 point
      • Marvin KennisMarvin Kennis, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

        It actually makes a lot of difference on the audience's attitude towards your article. There are lots of designers that actually work on meaningful problems. And this is no small group. It just really depends on where you look. You don't go to the park and set down for picnic next to the only pile of dog shit.

        If there's a subset of this community that is happy with redesigning iOs icons or thinking about new versions of the Google logo that will never see the light of day then let them. Just be part of the other group of designers if it annoys you.

        1 point
  • Edwin de JonghEdwin de Jongh, over 5 years ago

    Apparently designers are no longer allowed to have fun while doing what they do. We may no longer experiment or explore options during our off-time, everything we do must be meaningful.

    No, designers are not storytellers, designers are designers. That doesn't mean that we can't use storytelling as a means of design.

    9 points
    • Nando RossiNando Rossi, over 5 years ago

      Yep. To Sagmeister's defense, I agree that it's important to keep in mind that the designer's role is to solve problems with design, but if the problem you're solving is helping pass on a piece of information, a feeling or a story, then you're doing your job as a designer. Saying the rollercoaster designer's job is well, a rollercoaster designer, is true. But his job involves telling a story, creating an experience he controls and that can be done well or poorly. Anyone who's ever visited a Disney park knows firsthand what it means to design an experience.

      3 points
  • Nando RossiNando Rossi, over 5 years ago

    Provocative title has nothing to do with text, which does raise a couple interesting points but gets lost in its own anger. Chill out, yo.

    8 points
  • Arma GetronArma Getron, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    In the end this is less an actual appeal or argument towards other designers but rather a public display of your self-righteousness.

    You would do great at BuzzFeed though.

    6 points
  • Tor Løvskogen BollingmoTor Løvskogen Bollingmo, over 5 years ago

    So what does this guy do for a living?

    6 points
  • Andrew NaterAndrew Nater, over 5 years ago

    I'm generally not for the harsh criticism of a very large, diversified industry. The points made, although heavy handed, tend to be accurate. It's important to remember why that is, though. Money is generally focused in the realm of rich-white-people-problems. This world is fueled by money. A designer needs to secure oneself before even thinking bigger than themselves. It's the way the world works. Poor designers, sadly, won't achieve much. And until the rest of the work changes priorities, this will go on.

    4 points
  • Cole PetersCole Peters, over 5 years ago

    I’m going to ignore the dismissive personal attacks/judgements that make up the bulk of this comment thread (though I will say they made me smile), and just quickly address a couple things:

    1. Rolando: Thanks for sharing the article.

    2. There’s nothing in this text that suggests that for-fun projects are something that should be off the table, as can be noted explicitly in this paragraph:

    The First Things First 2014 manifesto, which I lead the production of, claims that it is not the signatories’ desire to take the fun out of life, and as a signatory I hold to that assertion. But this isn’t about scoffing at a bit of fun, or attempting to maintain a professional curriculum of grave, high-stakes, high-impact work — there should always be room for light-heartedness and experimentation in our work, but not at the expense of failing to create something greater than ourselves.

    3. As several people have been kind enough to enquire as to what I do for a living, or what my own work consists of:

    3a. My day job is as a senior designer at a patient-centric medical startup. We work as a medium between the pharmaceutical industry and patients who have found little to no hope through existing medicine. Specifically, we work with clinical researchers and drug companies’ clinical trials, and transform them into patient-friendly platforms (these are texts normally extremely inhibitive to understanding by non-scientists) so that patients can make an informed decision about pursuing treatment that is still in development. In doing this, we not only help bring potentially life-saving new drugs to market, we also help patients educate themselves and potentially have their health and even lives saved.

    3b. Previous to this position, I worked at an app agency where I produced little to nothing of humanitarian value but helped some big banks feel better about themselves. That was interesting.

    3c. Previous to that role, however, my main project was as a co-founder of an independent design practice, where we created a comprehensive website for a non-profit educational group. This can be found at http://winnipegarchitecture.ca

    3d. Another ongoing project is the First Things First 2014 manifesto, which advocates for people-centric, not profit-centric, ethical design.

    3e. I’m also currently working on several other projects in the non-profit space, to do with press freedom and digital security, which I can’t speak further about publicly for the time being.

    3f. Sometimes I post things to Dribbble, as has been pointed out already. I suppose this cancels out all of the above.

    4. Thanks for reading.

    4 points
  • Nate DunnNate Dunn, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    Seemed aggressive, maybe a little misguided, and kind of unclear. But hey, I get it: as important as design is (in every sense of the word), the least I can do is get up every morning and ask myself why I do what I do. How you answer that, and what you do with it is completely up to you. However, I personally believe that we might be able to find a reasonable space in between thinking "I can change the world forever with design", and "I am just one person, with simple design aspirations".

    Personally, my goals are big and I try to make them people focused (as do a lot of people; I'm not special here), but I try not to romanticize my visions, nor force others to value them as I do. But hats off to the people who choose to think deeper about design and their work, and are somehow still labeled by this guy as adding to the problem. Shame.

    4 points
  • Moeed MohammadMoeed Mohammad, over 5 years ago

    100% on point.

    3 points
  • Jim SilvermanJim Silverman, over 5 years ago

    medium is a frozen shithole.

    2 points
  • Gonçalo MoraisGonçalo Morais, over 5 years ago

    Browsing through the comments around here, people totally missed the point of the article… Maybe I got it because I’m not a designer?

    2 points
    • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 5 years ago

      I saw sweeping generalisations about a wildly diverse group of people, from across the globe. A group of people who probably can’t be covered by catch-all statements like those found in the Medium post.

      I don’t think the vilification is accurate, warranted or likely to have any kind of positive impact. Why post it at all? What’s to be gained?

      Like any industry, if you look hard enough, you’ll probably find some unsavoury characters. But, you’ll probably also find some good, honest people who are making the world better in a their own way.

      15 points
      • Nando RossiNando Rossi, over 5 years ago

        +1. This is angry clickbait and even the ok points lose their meaning in that context.

        1 point
      • Dustin CartwrightDustin Cartwright, over 5 years ago

        Exactly this. Of course there are designers out there that create things just to sell them off. But that doesn't mean they get to that point... Services and/or products born out of a real passion tend to do much better in all regards.

        The reality that this Medium post misses is that creating sustainable things is hard. At least, hard without extensive planning or throwing advertising in the user's face. It takes a lot of planning, work, and passion to make sure a service becomes sustainable without sacrificing the user's experience in the process. Selling out sometimes provides the extra backbone needed for support. In most cases, founders and teams even stay on board after a "flip" too.

        1 point
  • Christopher DavisChristopher Davis, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    A long time ago, Plato proposed a thought experiment called "The Ship of Theseus; a philosophical parable about ownership and heritage.

    It's an interesting read, to say at the least...one that too often comes to mind as I read comment threads such as this one. An objective viewer may read the linked story and, without any frame of reference, disagree strongly with it. Then, upon reading this comment thread, she may feel strongly swayed towards the opposite consideration due to the heavy-handed and strongly-opinionated responses.

    Designer ego is a lot like the Ship of Theseus. At this point in time and technology, it's hard to tell where it came from, and where it's represented. Sometimes, thoughtful approaches to very real issues (such as the one that this Medium article addresses) lose value because they are consumed by people like us...people driven by an ego that we can't trace the origin of or validate. It just...is...and we lash out with it like it's some kind of tool of justice. It hits like a wet noodle, and leaves a bad taste in the mouths of those who experience it. I'd fathom a guess that no one is positively responding to everything in this article and comment thread.

    In many ways, this response is full of shit as well. In truth, I'm most constantly amazed by the fact that holistic design still has an incredible impact, in spite of people like us.

    2 points
    • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

      In many ways, this response is full of shit too.

      I don’t agree at all. I didn’t relate to any of the article. I don’t feel like I’m part of the culture Cole is offended by. I don’t think I know many or any designers who are part of the culture Cole is offended by.

      To me, the article just seemed like a baseless attack with no evidence. The reaction is understandable.

      In truth, I'm most constantly amazed by the fact that holistic design still has an incredibly impact, in spite of people like us.

      I’d argue “people like us” aren’t at all like the people presented by Cole.

      1 point
      • Christopher DavisChristopher Davis, over 5 years ago

        That's a valid point. There are many thoughtful and respectful designers out there that are driven by empathy, excitement, curiosity, and interest. I agree that the piece feels very baseless...but then again, so do most things done out of frustration.

        And for "people like us," again, I tend agree with you...but nothing is singular; everything touches everything. From what I do and say, to what you do and say, to what he does...it's the legacy of the whole of us, grumpy people and all, that amazes me. ;)

        0 points
        • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 5 years ago

          I agree that the piece feels very baseless...but then again, so do most things done out of frustration.

          Being frustrated is no excuse. If you’re going to attack something, the burden of proof lies with the attacker. You’d better bring your A-game and tons of supporting evidence if you want to be taken seriously.

          Cole may (or may not) have valid points, but the presentation of his argument means he’s already put many readers offside before they reach the second paragraph.

          If you want respect, be respectful.

          it's the legacy of the whole of us, grumpy people and all, that amazes me. ;)

          My solution is to try to not be grumpy and to not spend any time or effort on those who are continually negative. My time on DN and my time spent with fellow designers has been a really positive one.

          1 point
  • Kyle TurmanKyle Turman, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    A wise person once told me to be wary of people who complain about an issue without providing a solution.

    That being said, I think a lot of the points this guy makes are valid. Valid points that stretch beyond the design world and into the "actual" world. People will always be obsessed with money, power, and themselves, no matter the industry.

    Another wise person once told me that you'll never be able to stop a war single-handedly, but that doesn't mean you have to fight in it.

    That means if you want to "fight back" and "take a stand" against the "evils" of the design world, then do the opposite of what they do. You cannot control the will of others, but you can control yourself.

    Make good work. Do good things. Don't be a dick. Stop complaining so much.

    2 points
  • Joel CalifaJoel Califa, over 5 years ago

    This: https://colepeters.com

    1 point
  • Peter MainPeter Main, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    Design like any sector is complex and multi-faceted – to say we should all stop working for Valley company's just isn't a reasonable solution. Show me any demographic that solely does the good and moral over money and fame – it's just not a reality. This dynamic won't change until we realign our priorities. It's a fact of life though that good design takes time and time unfortunately equals money. There's no point getting angry about the fact that most of the time people will be required to seek a healthy wage.

    One thing i'd like to see is a list of third-sector, civic or open source companies that need help. And not just with Design either – marketing, developing, product, business dev, accounting should all be involved.

    I was feeling guilty about my own dribbble account after reading that article – There is, of course, stuff up there that was made for fun; messing around. I was curious to see Cole's too (https://dribbble.com/colepeters) to see what I should be doing...

    1 point
    • Cole PetersCole Peters, over 5 years ago

      Dribbble is nothing to feel guilty about, but I wouldn’t look to mine (or anyone else’s) account for guidance as to “what you should be doing”. ;)

      0 points
    • Cole PetersCole Peters, over 5 years ago

      One thing i'd like to see is a list of third-sector, civic or open source company's that need help. And not just with Design either – marketing, developing, product, business dev, accounting should all be involved.

      This sounds great. FWIW, I’ve found great traction in searching out non-profits, etc., and offering help even if they’re not looking. They’re generally incredibly open to assistance.

      0 points
  • Matt FeltenMatt Felten, over 5 years ago

    Posts like these are becoming a little trite to me. My biggest takeaway is "people aren't doing the job the way I would." You're right. They aren't. Design might just be a job. Design might be your career. Design might be a hobby. Design might be the driving force in your life.

    Pick any other occupation and you'll have the same thing. Good and bad doctors. Good and bad police. Good and bad musicians. That's the way of the world, dawg.

    Stop raising torches and pitchforks. It's boring. Do your work, as best as you can, and hopefully make a dent in the world.

    1 point
  • Beth DeanBeth Dean, over 5 years ago

    Haters gonna hate. I don't see how bad attitudes do anything to improve design culture. Anyone can criticize. A better response to dissatisfaction with the industry would be to make the thing you want to see in the world; positivity and negativity are both infectious.

    1 point