In this new environment, we'll see personal success defined through the success we bring to other people's lives.
One of the most inspirational articles in the second issue of The Manual is by Cennydd Bowles, a digital product designer and writer based in Brighton, UK. His article “The Things of the Future” is an inspirational call to action on par with Ben Pieratt’s “Dear Graphic Designers” letter. Most designers want to make their own products, release them to the market, and make a profit, but Cennydd claims that we have become a community over excited by things that don’t matter. He says, “We must ask searching questions about the things we make and what they each offer their users. We must be strong in our conviction to put humanity at the heart of what we do.”
He challenges designers to test their designs and ideas with real people, and rely on their own intuition. Metrics are no longer the only way to test a product. He says, “Great apps spark unmeasurable emotions: loyalty, trust, love.” So, how do we build things without adding to the pile of useless products? We must make them good. Good for the web, good for design, and good for the world. He closes by saying, “So the future can be saved. If the web design community can make things that help not only business, not just individual users, but everyone on the web, we can arrest our slide into mediocrity. Create valuable, wonderful things and the economics will follow. In this new environment, we’ll see personal success defined through the success we bring to other people’s lives.”
At Kern and Burn we believe one way to create value is through writing. It doesn’t have to be critical, it doesn’t have to be long-format, it just needs to be thoughtful. (A strong thread of thoughtfulness runs through all the articles in The Manual.) If we can inspire more designers to write thoughtfully about their work, or at least read the work of others, then we can give back in a way that hopefully gets designers excited about the opportunities available to them today.
We recommend ordering a copy of The Manual here. Shut your computer, start reading, and allow its authors to challenge the way you do things.