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The State of Design—my essay in a publication

We need to position our design judgment better. For being a part of the design food chain—as producers and as consumers.

A few weeks ago, Design and Critical Thinking invited essay submission proposals on The State of Design with a goal to build diverse voices and some directions to build conversations on the current landscape of design.

I did not want to write on The State of Design and I used my submission itself as an opportunity to tell them why I think it is an unnecessary topic to write about.

Here is an abstract of my essay.

Design has been part of our systems since ages and across the generations—in manual tools for use by our hands, in the machines, in print and media, and now in technology. We had design engineers designing our cars one hundred years ago. We always had textile designers, and cutlery designers.

Do we need to question the state of something that has been a default ever since we can imagine? Do we talk about the state of chair design—for the chair that we use for our work, or the state of cutlery design while having food?

Think of a small business anywhere in the world who makes water bottles—can they manufacture bottles without thinking of its usability for the users? Can an architect plan designing a school or park, without thinking like a designer? 

If I cannot increase the volume of my device while I am in an online call, this is first a design failure and then an engineering failure.

If I hurt my thumb while using a Jaguar tap, it is first a design failure and then a manufacturing failure (related tweet).

When you talk about the modern cities and the streets where kids cannot play—this is not only an administration failure or policy failure—this is a design failure.

For a minute, just observe the device and the app that you are using to read this article now. Have we not laughed at these browsers for shattering our confidence? Have we not laughed at those printers if you are reading this article on a physical paper?

As long as there is a struggle of versus—production vs maintenance, or profits vs people, or sales vs systems, our investments in innovation will continue to be part of the misplaced hype.

You can see the complete essay here (opens in a new browser tab).

Vinish Garg

Vinish Garg

I am Vinish Garg, and I work with growing product teams for their product strategy, product vision, product positioning, product onboarding and UX, and product growth. I work on products for UX and design leadership roles, product content strategy and content design, and for the brand narrative strategy. I offer training via my advanced courses for content strategists, content designers, UX Writers, content-driven UX designers, and for content and design practitioners who want to explore product and system thinking.

Interested to stay informed about my work, talks, writings, programs, or projects? See a few examples of my past newsletters—All things products, Food for designInviting for 8Knorks. You can subscribe to my emails here.

Vinish Garg is an independent consultant in product content strategy, content design leadership, and product management for growing product teams.