The Invested DesignerBy standing to loseWe stand to win
ProblemTodays graphic designers ﬁnd themselves consumed with the superﬁcialproduction of visual artifacts—logos, packaging, books, websites—rather thanhigher-level decision making about how to use such artifacts, their greaterinteraction with culture and business, and their effect on society.
Problem (2)In this peripheral role, designers wield little authority with clients because oftheir limited attention to and responsibility for the results and impact of theirwork. In addition, they draw less creative satisfaction from this than manyacademic design programs promise.
Hypothesized SolutionBy holding themselves accountable for the measurable effect their work has,and claiming a stake in big-picture client goals, graphic designers can gain theauthority with which to substantially inﬂuence a clients strategies. Throughshared ownership of a broad view objective, the client and designer can faceproblems together, each standing to gain or lose from their investment.
Potential ResultsIn this new relationship model, graphic designers may ﬁnd the opportunity toput their broad abilities to plan and communicate to more profound use,evolving the nature of the profession from trivial to indispensable.
OutlineIntroduction- Set the stage with an example of designers having little authority and doingsuperﬁcial work (contrast this with Paul Rands inﬂuence on IBM)- Give overview of the problem: - superﬁcial production, - limited authority & responsibility, - less creative satisfaction- Propose hypothesized solution- Imagine effect this could have- Set forth what rest of the book will talk about
Outline (2)Deﬁning the Problem- Deﬁne graphic design- Give quick history of design- Analyze the problem for G-Design today - "machine operators," aestheticians,not thinkers- How the market is using designers — fragmentation into differentspecializations (e.g., UX designers)- Why the most technical specializations are most visible (web design)- Design Education: how were taught to be thinkers not just visualtradespeople- Cite the historical connection between art and philosophy- Discuss why architecture and industrial design doesnt have thisdisassociation problem- Talk about G-Designs problem of utility and compare to other designdisciplines- Disassociation from the work product, end results
Outline (3)Ownership & Accountability- Deﬁne what it means to own or be invested in something- Why owning something and being accountable gives you authority- Go over models of ownership for designers, discussing pros and cons ofeach, examples, how they might apply in diff. situations- "One new skill all of these methods require is leadership."
Outline (4)Authority & Leadership- Discuss how by having ownership and accountability, authority emerges- Talk about leadership and why its necessary for those in power- Go over traits of a leader- Who are some design leaders?- Designers must learn more about their clients business in order to makegood decisions
Outline (5)The New Client/Designer Dynamic- How shared ownership promotes understanding and facing problemstogether- Increased motivation for designers to do their best work- Discuss whether designers would care less about their portfolios with a newperspective on their decisions- Talk about the new risks for designers- Micro View: Describe a day in the life of an invested designer- Macro View: What this would mean for the profession, and businesses- Where will graphic design evolve to next?
Methods of OwnershipDesigners already have some accountability, for an agency whose designs seem to fail its clients will not get hired again. But theconnection is often nebulous. (Why? How?)• Design fees tied to success—the more a clients end goal is met, the more the agency is paid• Having the designers "signature"—the more public a designers involvement in a project, the more his/her reputation is at stake. Paul Rand used to literally sign many of his works, as a ﬁne artist would. There could be many ways to make the designer more visible—sponsorship, credit listing... (more?)• Increased intellectual property ownership—by having rights to the reproduction and reuse of the design, the client has less at stake in terms of paying for the design in the short run, and the designer has a larger interest in continued success of the design, since that will keep the royalties coming in.• The emotional investment—perhaps a classic "artists" means of ownership, requires a big personality that shows intense energy, belief in and commitment to the big-picture goal, not just the design itself. James Victore seems to succeed with this approach. This would often work best with clients tackling social problems.• The business partner model—no doubt the biggest, riskiest investment, here the designer would actually legally and ﬁnancially partner with the client in order to accomplish the clients objectives.One thing all of these methods require is leadership.