As a Designer, innovation and a love for it is in my blood. Even when that innovation challenges the principles that my industry constituents live by, I have to objectively analyze the phenomenon.
That phenomenon is what I’m referring to as the “Democratizing of Design”. The Internet is great at bringing people together. This bringing people together has fueled a crowdsourcing explosion over the past few years.
Crowdsourcing who you are is a dangerous path to homogeneity.
I’m a big fan of utilizing the power of technology to properly analyze and more importantly, improve decision-making in the Design process. I use it as a weapon against problems of all types for my clients to consistently build upon the UX foundation that I lay out for them. Marisa Meyer’s usage of multivariate testing to test 41 shades of blue for their links on Yahoo! is a testament to what that sort of data can do, but when is the data working against the vision of a designer and the power of a great concept driven by a person with the right long view? There has to be a balance.
In all this, I can say that I think data is good. I think using data to improve your solutions, experience and brand is good. Where I think there is a distinction is in the essence of a brand. The brand tells the story of who your company, product or service is. While it needs to appeal to your target, it also need to be genuine. Crowdsourcing who you are is a dangerous path to homogeneity. In a business environment, the brand identity being authentic and unique is the goal. Having a design leader working along side you to champion your business goals utilizing smart branding is key to success. Simply updating your look to the latest trend is not a practice of smart, successful branding and will burn a lot of money in smaller installments while also violating your most precious asset, brand equity.