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March 18, 2007

Democratized Design

David Armano found an awesome article by Bruce Nussbaum of BusinessWeek asking the question - Are Designers The Enemy Of Design?  It looks long, but is a very fast read and has a lot of great content.

I think Bruce nailed it on the head when he talked about how design is being and will continue to be democratized. I believe everything will eventually go this way, and the profits will then being to help other people with what they need done, through continued conversations as both David and Bruce mentioned.  To get an even closer look at the democratization in business movement, check out this article from The Economist a year ago titled "The New Organization" [*note* it now requires a subscription], and also this article on self-replicating 3D printers for the future of democratized manufacturing.

For example even though its easy to argue that the vast majority of Myspace pages and websites are ugly, more people can put information online in a easier-to-read format, because they have been given simple design tools.  Would as many websites have sprung up if it required a Bachelors in Fine Arts to design a webpage?  Probably not.  The tools that grease the democratization process will further continue to upend the design industry.  And it would be even better if those tools helped the average person create good (if not great) design!  This is a great tool I have been using at Adobe Labs when trying to come up with color schemes for websites or other materials.

Another piece I really enjoyed Bruce touching on was the sustainable industry movement.  There is so much money to be saved (and made!) from cutting pollution and waste from the manufacturing process and in turn making all of our products more environmentally friendly, it's almost mind boggling.

As a last note, I thought one of the lines David bolded from the essay "We live a life in beta" is something people (who haven't) should take to heart.  You shouldn't be done learning or improving yourself after some set milestone, such as graduating from high school, technical school, or college.  You should strive for continuous improvement in what you do and who you are.  Constantly work on improving your relationships, business, health, and life.  Often improving one will help to improve all.


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