Design professionals are a serious lot.  We take our work and ourselves seriously and expect others to do the same.  We dress, develop habits, and use language that indicates to those around us that we are more creative or more enlightened than they are, with the hope that they will recognize our greatness and listen to/hire us.

All of those behaviors are doing a disservice to ourselves and our professions.  By establishing norms by which people become judges of how a “designer” should look, act or speak, we create a situation in which anybody not following that standard (conforming, if you will), doesn’t get the credit they deserve.

Let’s dissect the image first.  A “Designer” should:

Dress in all black.  Including underwear and toe nail polish (this shouldn’t require an example).

Have either completely square or completely round glasses, which are either the smallest or largest that anyone has ever seen (sorry, Ken Smith).

Pronounce words, especially “design” with trendy, hissing “s” sounds. (see HGTV, any time).

Insert the word “very” before any descriptor related to historical period, design style, or personality characteristic (example: “It’s VERY them”).

If designers are trained to see through trends to create timeless and beautiful works in their professions, they should also strive to do so in their presentation of themselves.  Having viewed some of Ken Smith’s work, I do not doubt that he’s developed his style over time and in a way uniquely his own.  But, for all the students and professionals out there still working on THEIR style and image, don’t fall into the trap of believing that adding more black clothing or smaller glasses will make you better at what you do.

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