Design Studios are Catty.

“We must as an industry jealously guard our relevance by presuming we are the only people in the world with the ability to create beautiful things.”

Hopefully you don’t like how that sounds. But elitism is rampant in our industry. Why? Because we have degrees in design? Because we spend all day thinking about design? Or because we feel a need to protect our relevance in the world?

It’s human nature. People need to feel important. They need to feel superior. But it’s a grossly exaggerated tendency in graphic design, and it should stop.

Right, right… “Those who live in glass houses.” We’re guilty too. You can probably even read posts on this very blog that border on elitism. (if not hitting it square in the bullseye.) Like all good designers, we’re quite passionate about what we do. It’s sometimes tough to draw a line between that passion, and simple defensiveness.

But today, we’re going to take a positive step in recovery. We want to care about design in a more open sense. We want to encourage design in our clients, and in the people in our lives. We work very hard to make the world a more beautiful and organized place, but we can’t do it all alone. None of us can. The more great design that happens in the world, – whether it comes from our studio or not, -the better for all of us.

It’s time studios start teaching what we do instead of jealously guarding it. It’s time for us to start encouraging our clients to appreciate design by participating in it, rather than turning our noses up at their attempts. A client who dares to organize a document is not stealing food from our mouths, they’re participating in our profession. It’s time we start to reward that and encourage it. Nobody is good at something with their first effort.

Can we teach and encourage ourselves out of a job? Impossible. The more clients participate, and understand the difficulties of design, the more they will understand the importance of it. The more they will value the time we spend, and understand the place of professional design in the workflow.


    Chris Parks 02/11/2010



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