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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

IDEO is one of the most well known and successful design consultancies in the world. But in recent days they’ve gotten pushback on Instagram for their record on diversity and the state of diversity in design in general.

This is a critical conversation, and it’s fitting that IDEO would be a flashpoint. The design process they championed and popularized perpetuates a belief that any person can design for anyone else, and this belief plays a central role in design’s continuing lack of diversity.

Despite making gains in the past two decades, design is still woefully monochromatic. A survey of nearly 10,000 designers published in 2019 by AIGA found that the field is still 71% white. With 9% Asian, 8% Latinx, and only 3% African American, and these numbers are basically unchanged since AIGA’s first survey conducted in 2016. Further, while the 2019 survey did show that women outnumber men, with 61% of respondents identifying as female, there are still large disparities when you look at who fills leadership and decision making roles. Only 29% of art directors are female, and as you move higher up the org chart that percentage drops quickly. …

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Photo: Jud Mackrill/Unsplash

There are a few ongoing debates in the world of digital design. Things like Should designers code?”, “What’s the value of design?”, “UX versus UI,” and, perhaps most fundamentally, “Is everyone a designer?” To get a taste for the flavor of that last one, you can step into this Twitter thread from a little while back (TLDR: It didn’t go super well for anyone):

To be clear at the outset, I don’t care if everyone is a designer. However, I’ve been considering this debate for a while and I think there is something interesting here that’s worth further inspection: Why is design a lightning rod for this kind of debate? This doesn’t happen with other disciplines (at least not to the extent it does with design). …

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Photo: Joyce McCown/Unsplash

Three years ago, I couldn’t stand for any period of time without my lower back seizing up. I had chronic nerve pain running from my left shoulder to my left wrist. It was bad enough that I couldn’t sleep. I was at least 20 pounds overweight and more out of shape than I had been in a decade. I was 35 years old. My physical condition was not what I would call optimal.

I had fallen into the hustle trap. At the time, I was head of product for a tech company, and the long hours had caught up with me: 80-plus-hour weeks, with late nights on my laptop, sitting hunched over on my couch. …


Jesse Weaver

Director of Entrepreneurial Design @cmci_studio | Cofounder @boostdepartment and @binderful

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