This is a very well-written essay and it presents a good perspective. That said, I think we should strive more to express our users in our designs than express ourselves.
Designers like Coco Chanel and Dieter Rams are celebrity designers; they are the brand that they represent. Of course we can find examples of successful style-driven designers like them, but they are exceedingly rare, while designers are exceedingly prone to think that they are one when they aren’t.
It’s a fundamentally different type of design and when you try to compare or apply that to product design, you could fall into the trap of developing a self-serving style that does nothing for your users, your business, or (effectively) your career.
So while our experiences, intuitions, and opinions will ultimately impact our work, I don’t think we should take this as an inevitability and thus a free pass to design for ourselves, as opposed to our users.
I’m thinking we probably agree here, but express it in different ways. Wanted to share anyway though.