Being a design despot.

A continuing part of my new life in Charleston is the new job that comes with it and re-wiring my brain around what design is. Moving from a creative agency to a software company, an intimate client facing environment to a larger, corporate environment has had some interesting effects. But one of the most interesting things has been the opportunities to design and think about what design can be.

inside-steve-brainMy current morning practice is to get up a bit early and get in an hour+ of design work in, or read a good book to get my day off on the right foot. For the moment, that book is “inside Steve’s brain” – one that’s become increasingly popular around my company, and for good reason. As the company grows, they are increasingly looking for a brand to consolidate their array of products. And looking at the process of design, as the company shifts from one that makes software to one that is selling a brand. Increasingly, design leads such as myself are being looked to for advice – again opportunity.

This morning was Chapter 2: Despotism: Being a one-man focus group. Some really interesting take-always for me, especially considering I’ve been functioning as a one-man design show for years and the context of my new position. A lot of what I read has been reassuring in many ways – coming at design from a different direction than those building the product, gives you a unique understanding. Steve’s main asset isn’t that he understands the technology as well as the engineers creating it, but that he understands the users and is always pushing design. This is a strong concept for me, as it helps me think about where my value as a designer is to a company that writes software and needs that outside voice to help understand how to package and interact with the things they create.