Design Toolkit Competition

Sungmy Kim
Aug 19, 2016 · 2 min read
Illustration by Sungmy Kim

I saw a recently launched design toolkit from my Facebook feed. I can’t count how many kits I’ve seen so far, but I felt that this is another equipment competition like in other industries, such as photography, musical instrument, or cooking.

In a photography industry, there are tons of equipment, from a smartphone to professional DSLR, to produce a great photo. In fact, high- price materials have more possibility to make a masterpiece. However, as we know, tools are not everything. A skillful person’s photos are always good even with a phone, on the other hand, a person without skills can’t shoot a masterpiece even with the best camera. Tools are just tools. The capability of the materials depends on the user’s ones.

Returning to the design toolkit industry, Only the people who are good at the design process and are familiar with creative thinking can distinguish a real good kit among them. Non-designers may not realize the differences. They may not know how to use them. A design toolkit doesn’t work by instruction. It is why we need a professional facilitator.

The cost also matters. Ten-million-dollar-design consulting from a company A doesn’t always make a ten-times bigger impact than a million-dollar-consulting from a company B. In other words, this industry might overflow with the ambiguous design methods unless the average capability of consumers is improving. Some methods may be forgotten before being utilized.

I hope that people don’t be too enthusiastic about a new kit. Its results will be same if they switch their gear from Canon to Nikon without improving their skillset. Rather, I think we need to learn how to choose a right tool in which situation. No tool fits to everywhere.

I have no idea from when a designer’s role becomes to teach design to non-designers. As the future of photography is not the enhancement of public photo skills, the future of design is not the improvement of general design skills. I hope that the designers should use their toolkits to move forward than winning more contracts with non-design organizations.

Perhaps we need an early adopter or an expert reviewer for this design method industry. “The new kit this year includes ten more methods for health care.” “Hmm… I can give three stars.” “I think it works only with a small clinic in America.”

Sungmy Kim

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Experience designer and design strategist, active in New York |