Donâ€™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 â€œstrategyâ€, â€œproblem solvingâ€ and â€œdesign thinkingâ€. 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 weâ€™d like to claim. We donâ€™t save lives or fight poverty. Even those talented designers we laude most arenâ€™t curing cancer. Mostly, we solve minor problems; the rest of the time, we do window dressing. I like to think that weâ€™re the â€œplumbersâ€ of communication.