Too Designer-y

If you google the term “designer’s desk”, you will find hundreds of more pictures like the one above. White Ikea-ish furniture with Apple products on top of it. Not even a speck to dust. And I feel like we, the designers have put ourselves in this mould of what a designer’s life should look like.

I don’t know when design became a lifestyle from a profession. The “ideal” designer lives in a sun-kissed city, has Starbucks for breakfast, loves her job to bits, has a pet dog or cat, goes for hikes, reads tons of books, is funny on Twitter and has the most beautiful Instagram feed with photos of beaches and food, and everything in between.

I have nothing against you if you are this person. You sound like an amazing person but this is the mould I’m talking about that a lot of young designers try to fit in. I must look like a designer. My life should look designer-y. We are so caught up in making everything seem so beautiful and correct that we forget being wrong or worse, we forget to share the ugly bits of our lives/ work.

I am from India, a country that is still on it’s way. Life here is great but it doesn’t quite fit that mould, especially if you are a young designer. I see so many designers around that are just trying too hard to be a designer. Now, don’t get me wrong. These are amazing and talented people producing great work, but why try to become when you can just be? What we forget is that design is a discipline. It’s a skill. A skill that can be built and the person who does it, has to show up and do their job, just like everybody else. And guess what — you can be your own person, the person you are out of it.

It’s totally a personal choice to live your life the way you want and if fitting that designer-mould is what you want, that’s cool too. But we, as designers need to understand that when that happens, we, as a community lose a lot. We all start sounding like the same person that does all the same things as every other designer. We don’t hear about new experiences and stories that might not be so designer-y but are worth sharing. Before sharing something, we mustn’t be asking ourselves, “Should designers XYZ”?

We need to realise that we are humans first — different, imperfect in our own ways and the design world would be so much more exciting/refreshing if we all didn’t sound similar. I just want to remind us this one thing.

Bring a whole lot of yourself to the table.


If you enjoyed reading this, please recommend it and help this piece reach as many designers as possible.

If you agree/disagree/are angry with me, I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Thank you for reading.

I’m Nitesh.

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