The End of Man-made Design

In the not-too distant future, Dreamcatcher and other programs like it will design things all on their own. Give Dreamcatcher some criteria, and the design of a workable bike, app, or machine could be ready a few minutes later.

Obviously, if you’re a designer, this news might trouble you. Job security is non-existent if software like Dreamcatcher can really fly. Dan Saffer at Medium:

To many people this is a bleak, grim, oh-shit-there-goes-my-job, future. Which is understandable, because for many people this probably will be the end of their job unless they future-proof themselves. You future-proof yourself by ensuring that the kind of work you do cannot be easily replicated by an algorithm. In design, those skills are insights-gathering, problem framing, and crafting unconventional solutions.

I think that each person’s part to play in the future of design is in a gray area. It seems likely that Dreamcatcher promises more than it can deliver. It might work in some and eventually all applications, but not all for decades to come. It will probably be in beta for much longer than we can anticipate.

In the meantime, designers, keep working hard and smart. You shouldn’t be afraid of ghosts. Continue to learn new skills and satisfy your clients. You don’t need to turn your attention to the competition. You need to keep focused on the end user.


Joe Darnell

Joe is a UI and graphic designer with prior experience as the creative director for three media-based businesses. Joe’s passionate about web design and graphic design with about 15 years of experience in the media industry. Additionally, Joe is the host of the Top Brew and Techtonic podasts, both featured on iTunes.