Why are there so many disgruntled designers here?


We are disgruntled cause we are never satisfied or think we are not being compensated fairly for what we produce. Also…it is a hard profession to get a job in compared to others and the pay is relatively low comapred to other professions that may not require as much creative skill sets…sometimes it can seem like a dead end profession.

product design is one of the most competetive fields, agreed, but the majority of people in the field are clueless as to what design is. more so when you move the cursor to the marketing side.

some try to put emphasis on the skills, while others on experience or folio. but the truth of the matter is that no matter how skilled or experienced a person is you’ll find another person doing a design that in its virtue has little to do with industrial design but has other elements in it that conveys it to be as such and consumers usually unaware just buy these products.

sales and pricing has a lot to do with it as well.

this is the main problem but everyone has gotten used to it because that’s the way the market seems to have worked so far.

if you want a design culture that’s at least %60 optimal you should seek it in story books.

right now from a scale of 1-10 i give it an 1.5.

Off-topic, but I was surprised by the comment above including SAMSUNG among the companies that have embraced design and believe in its power.

Samsung has a large advertising budget and make Public Relations efforts like every big corporation. They were “on-trend” by choosing to emphasize design in their public persona (this is an external marketing choice that is not correlated with their internal structure). They are fanatical about entering every design awards competition out there (a zillion products entered into a zillion competitions virtually guarantees some winners). They donate money and equipment to design organizations and schools (more good external PR). They have invested in good design facilities (by Korean standards). They have grown their Korean design staff exponentially (by hiring any inexperienced Korean who has a Western degree and paying them just enough so that they can share a small apartment with their Mom and Dad). They have kept this rapidly expanding design staff from utter chaos and implosion (through the crushing, innovation stifling heierarchy that is typical of Asian companies).

To believe that they “get it” when it comes to design, or that the power players in the corporation give a rat’s about design, or that they have an especially capable design staff is terribly false. Out of the hundreds of products Samsung pumps out, 99% are typical clutter, commodity crap from a design/innovation/creativity standpoint. The 1% left are just as likely to have been designed by an outside consultancy as by their own team. And at the end of the day, for all the hype about Samsung design, where are the unforgettable design icons? Where are the consumers who LOVE this brand? Ask even a designer to name their favorite Samsung product…hmmm…(no Walkmans, no iPods, no iMacs, no Aquos, no G-Shocks, no TTs, no Ixus/Elph,no Jordans, no BlackBerries, no Frappuccinos) - maybe one of those hand phones? (no, not that one, the other one that looks similar!)

Samsung’s “embrace” and “belief” is shallow and is therefore not delivering. All the good press aside, it looks to me like Samsung sees design “as another gimick that they can use to push more crap that people and the markets really don’t need. This puts (Samsung) designers in a really bad position because they are seen as just another tool in the assembly line instead of a strategic partner.”

Dear Guest Above,

First of all, you should research more and give comments.
You sound like an ex- Samsung designer who got fired or a designer from Samsung’s competition who can’t stand at one’s success.
Face it and watch it. You will be shut up pretty soon.

Second, sign up if you want to give a shout or at list tell us who you are, so we can believe your opinion. IP address maybe? I can send you some great info if you hate to research.

Third, in U.S, people don’t say " hand phone". It’s an Asian term.
So, you must be a Korean as well or a competitive Japanese.
Am I not true?

Fourth, if you have any Korean American Designer friends in U.S, ask them how many of them are actually hired by Samsung.
Samsung’s design labs are filled with international designers-not just Koreans. So, if you don’t know how it works, just ask.

The post critiquing Samsung was not a personal attack - why do you reduce your response to racism and name calling?

Your post, Kid, only questions the poster - but it does not refute any of the allegations the poster made. Where is your research? Where are your facts? Why haven’t you named the Samsung design icons in the league of the iPod etc. (because there are none)? Why haven’t you investigated Samsung’s ad/PR budget over recent years and compared it with Matsushita, Sharp, Sony, Philips (you will find that it is at or near the top of the list)? Why do you tell the poster he/she will “be shut up pretty soon” (are you still waiting for the Samsung design revolution, first announced in the mid 90’s)? Why don’t you tell us, how DOES a company double their young design staff in a couple years without experiencing the directionless chaos and team messes that normally would result in the West - remember the young dot-coms from a few years ago that tried this (Samsung is able to pull this off because the majority of these young designers are Korean and they will defer to seniority, bow their heads, and “fall in line”, as is their thousand year old tradition. You can’t erase this non-creative culture with some anecdotes in a bubbly magazine article!) Where is your data to support your claim that Samsung design is “filled with international designers” (do your research and I think you will find that 85-90% of Samsung design staff are young Korean citizens and/or first generation Korean ethnic background)? And why don’t you refute the poster’s assertation that the “power players” in the corporation aren’t really supportive or truly understanding of design (maybe your research will find that, like many engineering and old school technology corporations, Samsung is led ENTIRELY by ex-engineers who see design in a subservient service role. Maybe a look at annual reports and stock info will begin to reveal the real org. chart, titles, educational and professional backgrounds…can you find an actual designer anywhere near the top)?

If your idea of “research” is to “ask a few Korean American designer friends” or to read a couple light promo pieces in magazines and websites where, coincidentally I’m sure, Samsung is an advertiser (check businessweek.com right now!), then you can no doubt arrive at a rosy picture of this company. But I encourage you and everyone to look deeper into every company and consultancy - having a critical eye and seeking the truth can prepare you for the real world, help you to make appropriate employment decisions, and allow you to make improvements to this “unhappy” biz.

Why are there so many disgruntled designers here?
Because obviously some of them are like above. Nameless and still never register to log on but want to spit as they speak.

I wonder who you are. I mean really who you are. What company that you are working for and what kind of things that you are doing?
Did you design ipod? hmmm… I don’t think you did…

Go see it yourself,


Rank/ Company /Revenues / Profits

39 / Samsung Electronics/ 71,555.9 /9,419.5

47 /Sony / 66,618.0 /1,524.5

72 /Toshiba /54,303.5 /428.4

99 /Fujitsu /44,316.0 /296.9

Philips, Matsushita and Sharp…not in the room of top 100…

BUSINESS/FINANCIAL DESK | June 23, 2005, Thursday

Sony’s Chief Pledges to Halt Company Slide

By TODD ZAUN (NYT) 790 words
Late Edition - Final , Section C , Page 6 , Column 1

ABSTRACT - Sony Corp’s head Sir Howard Stringer promises shareholders fresh plan to revamp company and halt long slide in its stock prices as he formally becomes Sony’s first foreign chief executive, annual meeting; says his executive team will draft plan by September to increase Sony’s profit by rebuilding core electronics division, which has been battered by new competitors and rapdily falling prices on flat-panel television, digital cameras and other products; photo (M)

Samsung Is Now What Sony Once Was

Late Edition - Final , Section C , Page 1 , Column 2

Correction Appended

ABSTRACT - Samung Electronics Co is now what Sony Corp was decade ago, with twice market capitalization of Sony; Samsung has become what Sony could once claim–competitor with both breadth of products and appeal of premium brand; Samsung has kept lean corporate structure, with authority increasingly delegated to front-line managers around world, and almost quarter of far-flung staff of 88,000 dedicated to research and development; graphs (M)

Correction: March 15, 2005, Tuesday

An article in Business Day on Thursday about Samsung’s growth, as compared with Sony’s, misstated Sony’s role in the cellphone market. The company is a co-owner of

There is some validity to what you are saying, but unfortunately what you are saying and the way you are saying it reveals your naïveté about design.

UFO knda nailed it above when he said while there are varing degrees of Design there seems to be only one degree of Design being taught.

I don’t want to go on a rant here or apply a smackdown but, there is a huge gulf between what is taught in school, what is practiced professionally, and what is marketed as design.

The point about Samsung is true, but the more important point is that at Samsung and other companies Design is being applied as a marketing tool by design. I really recommend to anyone that Design is anything to everybody and the term can be applied liberally to almost anything. Get used to it, embrace it, and you won’t be dissapointed. You will be dissapointed if you continue to hold the vague notion of Design as it is taught in school.

Design is not an Ivory Tower built soley for the for designers to use to proclaim their views to the world. It is another tool and part in the vast game of economic activity.

Boring… you can say whatever you want.
I am still in school, but you haven’t made me convinced yet.
Let me go out play while you are staring at your new research. Bye

go out and play, and enjoy it while you can. you will be one of the complainers soon; I can hear it in your voice,…

you will be one of the complainers soon; I can hear it in your voice,…

Sadly, that’s just you.

one of the seven wonders of the internet is that you can say whatever you want, and be as massive of a prick as you want, and no one can punch you in the face.

thats why everyone is so negative.

its probably empowering.

when you see so many posts that are very critical of some companies, designers, or products i think it shows the industry and the public that there’re many designers who are in struggle with the reality of modern design.

the truth is however the idea of modern design is still in the primitive stages and there’re many chains and locks wrapped around it.

individual designers could certainly move about the idea of doing design that’s all perfect but eventually they reach a bottlenecked area where they have to either accept the rules in the game at that particular threshold or withdraw and make a U.

on the other hand to see design circling around itself in one level is a totally premature concept although i’m sure there’re some proponents of this type.

eventually the question is where can you find the freedom to do what you call design. of course looking at the complexity of issues involved you will realise that this whole idea, although a great one, is regarded as retarded because no one in the industry or in a company will accept your views unless they see it fit their own general plans.

and - not just talking about design - how many times in your life have you experienced that to be true?

design isn’t as simple as ordering a pizza and watching a football match with your friends.

Good point, thats more of what I was trying to say.


Yeah, I was being sarcastic, but not very successfully.

I agree with some of UFO’s points. Designers do not own aesthetics. They just try harder than everyone else to communicate ideas visually to key stakeholders in the design process. Anyone and everyone usually has an opinion on whether or not they think thats a good design. Its a pipe dream to think that design is the over-arching cohesive guardian of well-desiged products, its just a player on a team.

From my little experience, I have seen that when you separate out our skills (drawing, CAD modeling, rendering, etc…) we are exactly the same as all the other players on the team. We all make decisions based on what we think is best to meat the goals of the project or the needs of the end user or the target price point or whatever else the criteria is that is set up by the client. I think a lot of us designers can’t cope with the fact that we aren’t better than everyone else. It kinda crushes or hopes of becomming some celebrity designer.

Could it be that disgruntled desigenrs are those who are learning that they are a smaller fish than they thought?