This is a really great post. Thank you. I've often thought its egotistical to express yourself in the the things you design, but it's true that it's unavoidable, we just have to make sure that these manifestations are as positive as possible.
It is indeed a well-written article. That said, I think we should strive more to express our users in our designs than express ourselves.
Designers like Coco Chanel and Dieter Rams are celebrity designers; they are the brand that they represent. Of course we can find examples of successful style-driven designers like them, but they are exceedingly rare, while designers are exceedingly prone to think that they are one when they aren't.
It's a fundamentally different type of design and when you try to compare or apply that to product design, you could fall into the trap of developing a self-serving style that does nothing for your users, your business, or (effectively) your career.
So while our experiences, intuitions, and opinions will ultimately impact our work, I don't think we should take this as an inevitability and thus a free pass to design for ourselves, as opposed to our users.
I don't think the article supported the idea that one should design for themselves (themselves referring to the designer in question,) rather that we should also consider designing for the self, with the "self" referring to the "self" — the subjectivity, life, characteristics, personality, reality — of the people using or experiencing the product.
If anything, what I got out of this is that we should strive to think beyond the basic train of thought where design is for solving problems and look deeper at how design effects the "self." (as defined above.) This is not to say that we should design things solely based on how they make the person feel either, but rather that we should start taking it into account.
Ahh interesting. I was more addressing the thoughts in the comment that I replied to, but I appreciate your take on the essay. That makes total sense to me and it's a very thought-provoking perspective.
Thanks Austin, totally agree with your points. But I think the article was assuming we are all already sold on the user centred approach to design.
I think what it was getting at is that there's a risk when fully embracing user centred / ego-less design, that we naively think we are not putting any of our own biases in to our work. But when you really examine it, it's actually unavoidable, we are only human after all.