The design profession has expanded broadly and rapidly into digital media over the past ten years. This phenomenon has brought a wealth of new people, skills, research and techniques into the profession and allowed us to accomplish things we never could have dreamed of before this growth. There were (and still are) many benefits to this expansion, but also a few drawbacks. And as I look across the digital landscape, I fear we are beginning to loose our identity. As designers, we are so caught up in defining ourselves by the most recent niche or specialization to materialize in the industry that we are failing to realize the impact this is having on our field -- that with every new title or label that surfaces we are eroding our identity more and more.
Every day I read articles and see comments about how branding (and subsequently marketing) is changing because of digital media, and how this is a necessary change to survive in the world that we now live in. This may be true, but very few brands are making this change successfully.
Too often companies rush in to establish an on-line presence thinking that the existence of a Web site or a Facebook page means that all of their customers will suddenly flock to them with open arms simply because they are posting news articles or re-purposing their twitter feed.
They are subsequently disappointed by the lack of engagement. And they try to use the number of followers or friends or likes or page views as a metric to justify the time and effort spent despite the fact that the awareness of their brand is nonexistent and the participation in their programs has not increased at all.