Your ideal design job

If you could describe your ideal company/firm/agency what would it be like and what would you ideally be looking for in a design job?

Doing something meaningful would be the ideal. Lets face it, most of us create landfill on a daily basis. So lets see, William McDonough + Partners would be great, and Michael McDonough would work as well, or a job with Rem Koolhaas. These folks are at the top of the list.

30% assigned project concept development
30% blue sky project concept development
30% user research
10% what ever I want/need

In an ideal design job, I’d be able to pick and choose my clients, not the other way around. If a client wanted a metoo product, a new skin job for last seasons product, or an unethical product, I’d be able to turn them down, because 5 other potential clients with meaningful, new and innovative projects were beating my door down.

Right now design is a commodity market, where the clients pick their firm out of a sea of similar design proposals. IMO it should be the opposite, where designers had clients asking them to do a project for them, and the designer having the final say of whether or not to proceed.

This one. Working for myself. Could never go back to being part of a corporation. I get contacted by headhunters quite often and get offered salaries that are double what Im earning now. But I’m not interested coz money isn’t my motivator. I could never go back to full time. I only work six months of the year if you add the hours up. This summer we spent two months in the south of Italy with a reggae soundsystem that belongs to one of our friends - took the latops with us - can’t imagine an employer letting me do that! :laughing: I know we are lucky because our main client is a joy to work with. i also try to ‘give back’ by working with business start ups for reduced /no fee - it is rewarding to see new things take off and happen with our help.

hard to say, but I think my ‘end game’ position would be head of a small ID department at an art school (or even helping to start a small ID school ala Bahaus or Taliesen). I am fascinated by how fast people can improve and learn as designers in the right conditions and with the right information. But that is a long way off for me…

Providing pure strategic direction. I’d leave the tactical bullsh*t for the sketch- and CAD-monkeys. No more parting details, resin issues and other things that don’t happen at 10,000 feet. It doesn’t matter what the products or companies are. I want 100% product definition, focusing on what the product/service/company should be, not what it is.

Ditto. What it should be and making sure it stays on that path, sounds good.

… funny I think my marketing guy would say the same thing … I know that comes off poorly, but its true.

Absolutely no offence taken. I know the amount of BS coming from marketing is extreme and deserves some flack but they are in fact the ones charged with what I like to do most, the product/marketing/positioning/or whatever you want to call it strategy. I just think that, and I may be wrong, if IDers are in charge of strategy, outcomes would improve for the customer and the organization. This may be an ego trip, but we are better suited for analyzing qualitative research (I’ll leave the number-crunching, quanititative spreadsheets for the business majors) and using that customer, competitive and internal knowledge to direct the path of the product. I have only seen three shades of ugly when marketing tries to art direct the look and feel and don’t forget their well documented track record of feature creep.

I think everyone plays an important role and this is the wrong forum to ask, but who better to direct the life of a product? I also may be wrong about this, but as ID companies grow in reputation (e.g. ideo, frog, etc.) they tend to shed that tactical side for the strategic to more of a consulting company like McKenzie or Bain or BCG.

look what kelley did to my mercedes concept


I agree 100%. And I think it is because we are focused on possibilities vs current market sales numbers. Maybe having those business types focused on that allows design to stay in the realm of possibility longer? We are responsible for creative solutions, they for hitting sales targets.

Lately I’ve become pretty disillusioned with the work of IDEO. When your latest and greatest is the Swiffer, a product nobody needed and a thinly disguised marketting scheme to get return sales of little ionized sheets of paper that cost nothing to make at that, and you didn’t at least design it, I’m not sure where your future lies. I probably don’t have the full picture…

To my eyes Frog and Continuum seem to have been able to shift to the strategic side of things while still retaining control over the tactical and doing the actual product design. I want the meat and the potatoes_ for me that is where its at continue to do what we do, AND gain responsibility (and pay).

I’m just kind of thinking as I’m typing so some of this might be off base. Anybody have any idea what the heck ufo is talking about? I thought only Chris Bangle appreciated his genius?

Your ideal design job should be the one you’re currently in. If you were in the job you dreamed of in college then what next?

Has anybody here made the successful transition from ID into a more strategic design/marketing role? Did you need post-grad studies in marketing or business?

I’d like to hear how it’s done