Lesson 78: Good Design Work does not mean Successful Product

You must try to decouple your sense of value as a crafts-person from the entity that buys your wares.

Consider the possibility that nobility and virtue are not synonymous with the loss or preservation of one's life. Is it not possible that a person should forget about living a certain number of years, … accepting … that 'no one can escape their fate.'

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 7, #47

We should investigate why we conflate "Good Design" with product longevity, or product revenue, or product hype. A person is not a good designer because they lead design at some mega-dollar company. They are a good designer - or they're not.

And so what is Good Design, then? Sure, there's something about efficacy. But it's also about adherence to principles, about how the design work was performed.

Was your design work performed ethically?

Was your design work performed with integrity?

Are people better now for having done the work?

You do not control the impact of your design, let alone its impact on business success. You must try to decouple your sense of value as a crafts-person from the entity that buys your wares.

Craft virtuously.


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Remember that design is not art, but a practice.

Michael Schofield