032018: Design Won’t Save the World

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As we’re jumping into the moving van, Felix asks me to hold a bag of medical supplies he brought from the hospital. Tubes, syringes, needles, disinfectant spray, all packaged separately in thin plastic bags. What’s that for, I ask. Felix’ friend—a doctor, too—was going to start his first job next week, and Felix promised to help him practice injections and blood sampling.

The way he handed me the bag with supplies was very casual, but I felt weird and—all of a sudden—very useless. When I help my friends and colleagues with work stuff, it’s usually about color choices, or whether the copywriting of an input field is clear enough. It doesn’t have any relevance at all. Whereas Felix, he f-ing helps friends take blood cells out of a body to put them into a laboratory to check them for diseases, and to actually cure them.

The whole tale that “Design can change the world!” has already been demystified a while ago. Another poster won’t save the world, nor will another app, or another chair, or typeface. Design does have the ability to make things better, but looking at our world full of over-designed products and services, it hardly ever is executed in a way that it does so. Design is often used to make bad things look better, and through that, it multiplies its negative impact. To be honest, that sometimes make we want to quit design altogether.

On the other hand, I am very lucky to work with people who are striving to use design for the better. Maybe that’s also because I waved goodbye to the startup world quite some time ago, and I try to work only with people and companies who I find relevant and/or pleasant as human beings (not only as colleagues). No bad vibes are worth the money, especially when you decided to make your passion your job.

Other stuff:

1 — Words: I’ve read a couple of good essays recently. In The Good Room, Frank Chimero explores the missing soul of our digital environment. A while ago, James Bridle wrote about the disturbing loopholes YouTube’s algorithm creates. And I love Jean Hannah Edelsteins newsletter “Thread”. Pre-order her book if you enjoy her writing, too.

2 — Pictures: I created a meme-inspired “starterpack” about my personality. Check it out here and make your own—I’d be curious!

3 — Life Hack: I unfollowed everyone who calls theirself “influencer” on social media and posts tons of ads. It just makes the web a shitty place. Please stop it.

4 — Lesson learned: Negative people are not worth your energy. It’s okay to stay away from them.

So, I helped Felix move last month. I also helped two friends paint their walls, and I re-arranged my furniture (it looks shit, so I’ll have to move it back again tomorrow). I will continue to design stuff, even if it’s worthless compared to the benefit a doctor brings into the world. I simply can’t do anything else; so I might just use it well. Have a great start into spring (Yes! We made it through the winter! Isn’t that something!).

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12. März 2018