Don’t get me wrong; I believe in design and am a vocal proponent of it. At the same time, I sometimes feel that we too easily inflate the importance of what we do. We talk a good game with terms like “strategy”, “problem solving” and “design thinking”. Mostly though, these remain lofty ideals that surface only occasionally in our daily practice. On the flip-side, we designers love our toys, the novelty of our profession, and the fact that choosing type is arguably more pleasurable than reconciling bank statements.
Aside from a very limited few who concentrate on more socially relevant design, our work rarely dabbles in the kind of relevance we’d like to claim. We don’t save lives or fight poverty. Even those talented designers we laude most aren’t curing cancer. Mostly, we solve minor problems; the rest of the time, we do window dressing. I like to think that we’re the “plumbers” of communication.