A relevant — pick any discipline — design approach cannot exist in separation of acute observation of society, culture, business and the relationship of these with technology. A designer’s place in the world is at the junctions of those areas, extracting content from those and return it as better content. A proportional designer, as a proportional typeface, takes context into account and she is, at the same time context defining. Demands agency and space to perform, and thrive on the intersections and the uncertain because there is where knowledge is found and projects are nurtured from.
When the designer is seen as a unit of measure, as with all units of measure, the aim is to keep it unalterable, permanent, secure for comparison between vendors and as close to maximum performance (aka profitability) as possible. There is no room to be a lowercase “i” or a capital “M”, to shape ourselves and grow as we develop our practice. When design becomes just a job, when we take away the notion of a design project as a life-forming learning experience, we are opening doors to apathy and mediocrity.