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State of the Startup: Design

Sep 7, 2012

I recently had the opportunity to attend the General Assembly event, State of the Startup Industry: Design. GA hosts a range of events that cover the technology, business, and design sectors and this was their first design-themed evening.

The Next Web’s Harrison Weber co-hosted the event and opened the conversation with design focused news, followed by Dan Maccarone, the co-founder of Charming Robot and Hard Candy Shell and Matias Corea, the co-founder and chief designer of Behance.

In his talk, “Current Design and UX Trends,” Dan looked back at his personal experience working with content sites like The Wall Street Journal, mobile apps like Foursquare, and commerce sites like Rent the Runway. He talked about hard lessons learned and presented a critical look at the trends today—what’s working, who’s copying what, and what design elements should really be reconsidered. In his opinion, the ubiquitous carousel is one example of a design feature that has been copied to death. Dan says, people saw the trend and thought, “they must being doing it right because they’re not changing it.’ Then someone else copies it, and someone else copies it, and all of a sudden, it’s all over the Internet…like the carousel.”

Harrison wrote a great detailed recap of Dan’s talk for TNW where he also posted Dan’s presentation slides. Read his full piece, “User Experience Trends and the Problem with Stealing Bad Ideas,” here.

Matais Corea’s talk, “5 Web Startup Trends You Shouldn’t Follow” highlighted the importance of learning design principals like good typography and an overall focus on a product, not the exit.

The discussion that followed led to some vibrant back and forth on whether or not designers should specialize and if you can teach aesthetic or taste to someone—that question received a quick, “No.” from Matais.

Networking after the talks is always an added benefit to attending the events. If you’re in the area for any of the events definitely consider stopping in—free booze included.

by Jess