Do You Even Design, Bro?
There are a lot of designers out there, some of whom are good and some of whom are not. In many cases, determining which is which is a matter of opinion, while other times it’s purely objective. There is one constant factor though: good designers are good for one reason, and that is that they are good at designing things.
Though it may come to a surprise to some, there are many things that don’t qualify someone as a good designer. These things include a curated Tumblr, your follower count on Dribbble, the “engagement” on your Instagram account, the number of times you mention badge hunting on Twitter, the number of conferences where you have spoken, or the number of pins that come up when you search your own name on Pinterest.
Sure, good designers may have those things, too, but, they are qualified to call themselves ‘good designers’ because they are good at designing things.
We are at a weird place in the design community right now where some people are thought of as great designers because of indicators that have absolutely nothing to do with design. It gives young designers the idea that they need to be spending more time updating their Instagram accounts with #FOUNDTYPE than actually learning how to be better at designing. Playing the part of a good designer has become more alluring than actually being one.
The quest for popularity has shifted our gaze away from what matters. Maybe it’s time to shift the focus back onto design.