Is Design really seedy?

Blackbelt Jones wrote this great post about Seedcamp and the lack of design involvement.

From the Seedcamp about pages:

“There will be a diverse mentor network of serial entrepreneurs, corporates, venture capitalists, recruiters, marketing specialists, lawyers and accountants that will help the selected teams put together the foundations of a viable business.”

How about designers?

Technology plays alone are starting to lose their distinctiveness in many of the more-crowded areas of the marketplace.

Great service and interaction design are on the rise as strategic differentiators for products as diverse as the iPhone and Facebook.

He's right, The only thing desiresable about the iphone is the interface, the technology is under powered or frankly from 2005. Thankfully its not all bad.

The line between hackers and interaction designers is blurring as they start small businesses that are starting to make waves in the big business press.

As I mentioned, my experience of HackDay Europe was that

“It really does seem that the hacker crowd in London/Europe at least is crossing over more and more with the interaction design crowd, and a new school of developers is coming through who are starting to become excellent interaction designers – who really know their medium and have empathy with users.”

This reminds me of my made up position name while at Ravensbourne, Designer/Developer. At the time I design was far too form based while development was far too programming based. Web designer meant you created HTML pages, Information designer meant you didn't actually touch any data or apis and Interaction designer meant you were too focused on art, hanging out in Hoxton and convince your clients they were always wrong. Things have changed for the better. The grey area between design and development
has been intersected by a 3rd force the hacker. So now you get pursuits like hardware hacking, alternative reality games, product user interface hacking. The fact is that its not about the titles, its about what vision you have in your head and how much effort your willing to put in to it.

Business-wise I think we have yet to see what affect the greying of design, development and hacking will have on startup culture.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.