Has Design Become Too Hard?

June 7th 2016

We judge designers by their work, not by the tools they use to do that work, right? If learning something new excites you, go for it. If it’s causing undue anxiety, don’t force yourself to learn it now. You are still a good person.

The designer's toolbox has and will forever be changing, evolving. That's the double-edged sword that makes building products for screens so equally exciting and challenging: there's always something new that can make a user experience better; there's always something new and cutting edge that takes time to learn.

There's a nuance to the question of whether or not one should keep up with the latest, trendiest tools. On one side it's clear: most of the tools won't last, it would be time-consuming and counter-productive to try and keep up. On the other side, and probably closer to where I live, is that by keeping up one can more clearly understand the evolution of our tools and the "why" behind each new thing.

For some people that's not important, and that's okay. Investing time into tools and experimental processes is a function of time and energy – scarce resources for those with families or kids or, dare I say, hobbies. It makes more sense in that case to let the young and foolish (like me) vet new tools and invest the time to try and find what can legitimately solve design problems (much in the same way that it's a safe bet to start using Sketch as a designer today; the early adopter community has collectively proven its value as a tool for design).

And at the end of the day, Zeldman's right: it's the work that speaks, not the tools. There are unreal designers out there solving hard problems with Photoshop and vanilla CSS. If that's not a wake-up call that the new Framework.js™ isn't a panacea, then I don't know what is.

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