Hey Designers: Stop Being An Afterthought

There are reasons you’re still saying the same thing after all these years — still talking about how it always seems like design gets tacked on to the end of the process. You should be at the concept meeting, you say, where you can make a real difference.

I’ve been hearing it for 15 years. I once had a job where I got to say it myself a few times. I got tired of that pretty quickly. I don’t say it anymore. You shouldn’t either.

Primarily because it’s not true.

There is no such thing as a project that goes off well without some level of planning. You’re just not the one doing it. You can keep wondering why, keep complaining, or you can change it. The front of the bus is a crowded place, but that doesn’t mean the people there are smarter than you. You’re a designer, which means you’re capable of imagining a better version of the world than the one you’re living in. And yet there you are, stuck at the back.

Here are some of the reasons it happens. And how to stop being an afterthought.