The modern designer

Your main skill as a modern designer isn’t the ability to design, it’s your ability to adapt to the constant changes in technology, trends, and conventions.

Your design skills have to be good enough. They’re a given. Your adaptability as a modern designer is something you’ll have to learn.

I was reflecting on this recently. In my 13 years as a designer I’ve probably learned just as a much as I’ve had to forget.

This isn’t the same as the brag that people like to say: “I’ve forgotten more than you’ve learned”. As a designer, you need to constantly forget and learn more than you already know.

The majority of your knowledge is temporary. Understanding this, accepting this and embracing this will dictate your success as a designer.

You need to forget things and re-learn. You need to reset your knowledge. The only thing that’s fixed is the fundamentals, but everything else you know is fair game.

In my career so far I’ve had to reset my knowledge hundreds of times. What is right and the “correct” way of doing things today might be frowned upon in 3 months time.

That’s why universities are faced with such a tough challenge to teach modern design. Things change too quickly for this to be taught in a formal setting.

It’s a strange job knowing that your knowledge can become obsolete in 24 hours.

Your skills are a moving target and can change from week to week. You need to have one eye on the now and one eye on the future, but also an understanding that not everything new and shiny is good and not everything old is relevant.

Yeah. It’s a strange old job.

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