Have you ever watched a show with actors playing the parts of geniuses? Did you pay close attention to the “smart” things they say? I have a habit of running what they say over and over in my head. 9 times out of 10 it is jargon-filled nonsense.
(To see a perfect example of this, watch the pilot episode of Scorpion. Then do yourself a favor and never watch it again)
Designers have the tendency to do something very similar. Being creative is an essential part of being a designer, and we spend a lot of time crafting an image of creativity. This often includes walls filled to the brim with post-it notes or elaborate systems carefully drawn on whiteboards. I have found myself awed with the majesty of such presentations. It is easy to get lost in the jargon and overwhelming amounts of information. But slowdown, take a breath, and look closely. You might find the information is meaningless, or tedious at best.
These efforts are dangerous because we run the risk of emasculating design. It causes the uninitiated to see design as mere fluff, which in cases like this, it is. It also serves little practical purpose beyond fooling people. I am not arguing that we should not distinguish ourselves aesthetically. I am a firm believer design should be holistic, but it needs to be substantive.
Design has the power to bring human-needs to the forefront of policies, products, services etc. This sets us apart. But despite what we may think, many people do not take design as a social-tool seriously. Let’s give them a reason to.