How Blockchain will disrupt Design & Designers?

Jun 16, 19


“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”_

Everything is about design. Shaping, observing, analysing target groups to fulfill their problems with tailored experiences. I had the chance to work with various talented designers in different industries and when I started being interested in blockchain… I was confronted with that.

Trust me, as a designer, we can do a way better job. No clear interface, no hierarchy of information, no graphics, no highlights, just the strict minimum… gorgeous!

My initial thoughts were, Fck… I go back twenty years ago… Another thing I will stop using because of the poor experience blablabla… My second thought was HEY! Let’s help them, that is an interesting market to work with, they raise millions in IOCs, let’s make money with them! Yes, I should have done that, but finally, I fcking loved it.

As a millennial, I have the feeling to revive the far west moment of the early stage of the internet, when the idea, the principle, were much more important than the look and feel!

“Less is More”

We borrow Mies Van der Rohe’s quote to emphasise what designers need to learn what to do. Unfortunately, we are now governed by competitiveness and profitability. It is really difficult nowadays to create an honest design. Our product should be first identifiable, attractive and for sure usable. We are kind of “forced” to add more than to remove. The world is full of everything. Absolutely full of similar services, products or gadgets, it is really simple to realise just by going to a fair. Innovation is limited, by the investment our client are scarifying into innovation.

My point -and sorry for this flow of frustration/anger-, by watching this simple screen just above, is that I realised how deep the potential of the Blockchain will be. We don’t need fancy graphics or interfaces. We just need that it works! Currently, the whole world is working hard to improve the system, to perfect it! Elements have the legitimacy to be there, not the fantasy.

We are really going back to the era of basics. Not because of the trends, but because of the products and the audience we are going to work with.

Future of Design

That is an important point I wanted to bring on the table. All of the designers are applying ‘Design thinking’ methodology (from Tim Brown), AGILE method (from Google) etc… We are all focusing on the methodology, selling it to every client as a key differentiator, to become a “disruptor”. We are all right, it is the right thing to do, we should be focused on the user, to test it with the user and to apply it to the user. That is, for today, the only way to really create value in an ethical way. It is also the way to stand out from competitors who are not embracing it yet.

Indicators are showing interest in Blockchain for the next couple of years in finance, automotive, medicine, etc… but there is no law regulation, limiting industry integration. It is not there yet, but all major companies and countries are approaching the topic. In a couple of years, companies will need software applications to merge their current system with blockchain solutions. Companies will need hands-on solutions. We still don’t know exactly what does it mean for companies like BMW, Google or even Nike, but it will happen.

I truly think that today, Design is at his height, Design is creating value. So far. Tomorrow, Design will be still present but it will be overtaken by software solutions. How might we still transport usability & user centered approach into the future? It will be just a maker of time, but during that one, Design industry will be drastically impacted.

Future of Designers?

That is a good question (that I asked to myself!). Nowadays, approximately 40% of the industry is still not aware of the potential of Design, meanings that designers still have potential work to do. While in the same time, years after years, a quantity of “Designers” are produced. Being a Designer is super trendy, let’s be one!

If we take a quick look at the future of working, Designers will fragment their workflow. Different projects, different companies, different teams. We are not going to be the central pillar of an entity, but as a mechanic, used at certain stages, for certain purposes. It is a today’s feeling (not based on proof) but after having finally educated companies about the power of Design, having given them the tools and methodologies, they will be self-efficient. Designers will work more in a more integrated way with companies and/or as a freelancer for various projects.

If we take into consideration the potential of Blockchain and the implication in the future of our economy/industry, the companies will need to understand it first and then adapt their structures to this new technology (which will become “mainstream”). Companies will no longer be looking for Designers to create value, they will need developers to get up to speed! As we said before, they will need software solutions more than design expertise.

Designer, if you read those lines, think today about how you will be able to bring value tomorrow. And I am not talking about just shaping the simple interface you can see above! What will be your place in the world of tomorrow?

Kind of conclusion

Advice to (future) Designers, you should better understand Blockchain and start shifting your expertise. Probably first as a consultant, in order to support companies to do the right transitions but in the end, our discipline will be disrupted. What do we do? How do we do it? Why will we do it? Those are some questions I am kindly asking you, but also to myself… Ideas welcome in comments!

I wish this article was fulfilling your curiosity… until then, good night.

An Optimist.

PS: Original post from my Medium but hey, let's move on ;)

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