5 reasons why designers don’t need to write

Perception is the communication problem.

5 reasons why designers don’t need to write

Last weekend, I reflected on my career and had an epiphany. Years ago, I was stuck and stagnant as an art director. I needed to gain skills to become a C-level executive. I had no idea how to break through the glass ceiling.

“… along this journey, I’ve lost my voice. I’m no longer confident in sharing thoughts because I don’t see the value in myself… What happened to me?” - Feb 2019 “Reflection on 4 Years”

I spent the next 50% (9 years) of my career searching for myself. The missing piece is communicating design value and impact. What’s the point of designs with no influence, adoption, and buy-in from team stakeholders?

The foundation of communication is rooted in words. Writing is designing words that generate the power of rationale, influence, and desired outcomes.

In the past, my co-workers encouraged me to write with the following:

  1. $50 bucks per article
  2. Cat could be a great speaker on stage one day
  3. Cat could be seen as the expert
  4. Cat can attract like-minded people to the agency
  5. Cat can learn a new skill

None of the above worked; they were materialistic reasons for money and fame. Sadly, I am a nerd who cares to seek knowledge. My imposter syndrome to produce quality writing prevented me from starting. Perfectionism is the enemy of good.

The fact is all designers need help communicating value and relevancy. Our impact is invisible when we don’t have a strategy or plan. We over-index and bias on aesthetic artifacts or go beyond our job scope, leading to burnout.

Five reasons why I didn't write

1. “Image is worth a thousand words.”

Designers believe aesthetic quality is an effective method to communicate the depth of meaning. We assume the audience understands and appreciates it because we weld the power to convey a thousand words into a single image. “An aesthetic design leads people to believe it has good function.” Law of Aesthetic Usability

This is not true.

How do you convey your worth as a designer without aesthetic images? Do you end up using a thousand words? Think about all communication channels ranging from audio to video. Do you say, “You’ll understand when I show you a mockup?”

Designers don’t want to be seen as service providers but keep discussing the impact with design mockups—a true irony at its core.