Maker Culture

I’ve recently been working on a small side project at Heroku to gather up and post my favorite design-related texts, videos, etc. I was calling it, for lack of a better title, “The Design Culture List”. Essentially take the design-centered works from my text playlist and share them. My intended audience is primarily other designers, but I think it might be fun and interesting for everyone.

In doing an audit of the content I wanted to share, I realized that while it was all of interest to designers, it wasn’t really all that design-focused. Of course, design is a passion of mine, but it’s the act of making things that I really enjoy. This is a passion that extends well beyond design, and that was showing up in the stuff I wanted to share.

The best designers are multi-disicplined problem solvers who take craft seriously. I’ve always called myself a designer, but where the real passion in my work lies is in my ability to pull things together to make something new.

This same way of being applies to great engineers, and make no mistake, engineers are designers. Coding, for example, is a skill that requires a decent amount of craft, or art. Systems are designed. But it goes even further than that. Engineers and developers are UX people. In fact, I’d assert that engineers have as much (or in many cases more) impact on the user’s experience of digital products as anyone.

What do all of these people have in common? They are makers. They share a creative spark to bring something new into the world. Instead of division, I say we embrace it and figure out ways we can better mix people together.

I’ve seen a few rumblings out there that seem to underscore this point. Heroku, for all that it’s primarily seen as an engineering-focused culture also calls itself a Do-ocracy and if the recent Waza conference was any evidence, craft is clearly seen as something culturally important to engineers. I love that.

Let’s set aside “design culture” and “engineering culture” and maybe try something like craft or maker culture. Why focus on what’s different when the is so much common ground?

One of my goals this year is to connect people. I’m hoping projects like this help me to do more of that.


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