Every morning I read about a situation that pushes us further away from what we’ve come to know or expect. With that comes the question of how our evolving reality affects product design. In particular, for those who practice it.
While some tech companies are seizing opportunity during these times, with others downscaling their ambition and growth, plenty of soul-searching is circulating. As a product designer, you may be asking yourself: What now?
Part of Preflight’s creation was to explore the function of an independent designer in a world where designers were going in-house, a result of the industry normalizing heavy structure and hierarchy. Tech has leveled out to develop corporate structures with at-times unknown or archaic HR structures to match (leveling, pay bands, etc.). It leaves designers in states of deep specialization.
To help me understand this move to in-house and specialization, I joined VSCO in late 2016 and stayed for almost two years. Since my departure in 2018, I have thought at length about my experiences, the lessons learned, and the knowledge gained.