Why I design
There are a lot of things that I can’t change in the world: I can’t protect our endangered species; I can’t reverse global warming; I can’t ensure that politicians will fight for a free and open internet; and I’ll never convince the nations of the world that Star Trek was right all along.
Gandhi said that we need to be the change, chaos theory suggests that a butterfly’s wings can change the climate, and I know that my vote does count (well, kind of, the Supreme Court is rapidly changing that) — but realistically, I’m not going to be more than an insignificant blip on the radar of the cosmos.
But there are things that I can change.
I read somewhere that a good designer is, overall, dissatisfied. That’s me. I see the world the way it is and while I can certainly appreciate it, there is a part of me that’s always thinking of ways it could be better. That’s a really cool studio, but how sweet would it be if it were a treehouse? This brewery has a really good vibe, but what if they would stop playing 80’s music (seriously, that decade was chock full of music that should never be replayed) and they took down all the crappy amateur art on the walls? I love this dog groomer, but I rarely get my dogs groomed because they can’t set up appointments online.
I can fix the frustration you have when the site you’re trying to browse doesn’t function on your iPhone. I can eliminate that concern that you feel when you try to donate to an organization and you’re sent to a vague PayPal page. I can make that web app you use all day actually intuitive. This may not be curing cancer, but I don’t know how to cure cancer — I do know how to make some small part of your world better.
I believe that the small things in life really matter, that tiny moments of frustration add up and make it harder to keep your zen. However, I also think that every time you go to a site and rediscover wonder, even in some small way, it brings you closer to a better day.
And while I can’t cure cancer, maybe you can, and maybe all you need is a day with a little less cruft in it…a butterfly’s wings and all.