A Call for Coding Designers

Published by Tim on Saturday July 6, 2024

This is a call for coding designers. It aims to serve as a proposal and a provocation for creative work with media technology in the 21st century.

Find a cause and work proactively

Most designers think about their craft solely as a service. They wait for someone else to tell them what to do. Think differently. What are your values? Who do you want to be? What are pressing issues in this world that you could engage for? Whom and which causes do you want to serve?

Develop your own ideas and work on them every single day. Rhythm saves energy and it is the key to success. If you start building a habit, you propbably will be surprised how much it helps you to make progress.

Don’t follow trends. Follow principles.

Hypes come and go. They appear, spread fear, confusion and insecurity and then there comes another thing. Don’t get tricked. Observe the hypes mindfully and do your best to make sense of them. Learn something new, every day. But more importantly, develop values and principles for your life and work as a designer. Write it all down and refine it constantly. Find your balance between idealism and pragmatism. Discuss your principles with your peers.

If your situation forces you to be pragmatic, that’s totally normal and fine. Sometimes you have to make compromise. But as soon as you can, return to your principles and your own projects.

Code is the main tool

Code is the most versatile tool of our time. It teaches you to think independently and to develop a wide range of media formats and platforms, often with just a single language: Web Technologies like HTML and CSS for example can be used to create websites, books, visual identities, motion graphics, 3D enviroments, archives and much more. By learning to code, you blur the lines and break down the walls between disciplines and build platform agnostic systems.

Keep it radically small

The right amount of technology is the minimum needed to solve the problem (<a href=”https://calmtech.com/” target=”_blank” target=”_blank”>source</a>). Low complexity is not just beautiful (<a href=”http://permacomputing.net/Principles/” target=”_blank”>source</a>), but it is also the key to resillience. Build systems that are made in a way that a single person can understand them (<a href=”http://permacomputing.net/” target=”_blank”>source</a>). Do not overload our products with unnecessary features, just stick to standards and avoid decoration and unnecessary dependencies.

Use Open Source

Choose our tools wisely and radically avoid expansive and feature-bloated software and services. Instead, look out for free and Open Source software (FOSS) or hardware. If there’s an acceptable, free alternative, use it, even if it is a little bit inconvenient.

Celebrate Imperfection

Embrace the aesthetic quirks that emerge from these principles. Discover the beauty in limitations and boundaries. Draw inspiration from the japanese philosophy of <a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wabi-sabi” target=”_blank”>Wabi Sabi</a>. You can even emphasize the quirks and stage them in a way that they become a part of the identity of the product.

Use the principles wisely

Low Technology became a hot topic in the last years and there is a risk that the aesthetics that emerge from these ways of thinking get abused for greenwashing and disguise. Choose our projects and clients wisely. Take responsibility.

Resources

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