June 9th, 2019
The world of design is broken
I realize that we are probably a millionth agency offering product design services. I'm not claiming that we are the inevitable savior here to resolve a crisis, but we are here with a purpose.
According to my cummulative observations during the past 6 years of my life being a designer, developer, and startup entrepreneur, there are basically three kinds of design service providers:
Constituting about 90% of all the agencies in the world
These are the pure math'd out agencies who have added UX/Product Design services to their existing list of development or marketing services, because of the lucrative nature of design business. My pool of statistics includes the whole world, or at least the major economies — not just the first world. These agencies tend to not have any passion for design. They are purely checking things off of the boxes given to them.
Constitute about 10% of all the agencies in the world:
These are primarily located in the first world and sometimes rarely in the almost-first-world (Like India/Indonesia/Israel, etc). These teams have a passion for design with a profound skill set(s) in different areas of design.
But the problem is, when you look at each of these agencies individually, they incline towards one or two definitive ideologies of design. While some of them believe that aesthetics are crucial, others disparage the need to be pretty — usability, data, or metrics is everything to them. To argue why they do this is beyond the scope of the point I'm trying to make now. In the end, the point to be noted is that you can make decent enough products picking your own strength — be it visual or analytical. However, there would be rarely anything exceptional about them.
Purely focusing on the aesthetics while ignoring the science of product design, might produce good looking products, but often they will be unimpactful. On the flipside, if you solely rely on engineered aspects of product design, the products will be soulless and robotic.
Great design is the perfect blend of all the ideologies. Usability, Aesthetics, Engineering, Business, and Marketing all matter.
A product's ultimate goal is to bring some form of emotional satisfaction for the users and some form of financial upside for the business.
The most foolproof way to build great products is to deploy empathy across all aspects of product building — Empathy towards Users, Usability, Visual Design, Content, Engineering, Business, and Marketing. All of these domains are crucial and they need to be fused with varying degrees of intensity depending upon the use case.
There are many! However, such all-round agencies who approach product building from a holistic angle are undersupplied. The scales currently are tipped out of balance. There aren't simply enough product design teams available for the rapid innovation needed for the next decade. And also, besides being scarce, these kind of teams are so pricey that only super big businesses can afford them.
All round, world-class product design teams are inaccessible to many entrepreneurs. They are either scarce or highly priced. This has been the single most motivation behind Clearcut. And this is why we exist.