Design — A powerless yet powerful career

#Myopinion : Designers are the 6th pillar of a business but still they get paid in peanuts and also don’t get much recognition in an industry. This article explains the power of a designer as an individual in any industry and how as a newbie entering into a design industry you can do the same.

Image Credits : (

A new day to begin with a wonderful article. I am starting a series of articles : Design for the 21st Century. This is the 1st article of the series. Do share your valuable feedback in the comments section and if you like the article do share with your designer friends.

Why designers have no power ?

I am not here to demotivate you or tell you not to pursue design as a career. Instead, I want to share the truth about the design industry, specifically in INDIA, and how we, as designers, can tackle these issues in the future.

There has been a trend of pursuing a career in UI/UX Design after COVID-19, all across the world. Many people have started doing bootcamps, short courses, and certifications to enter the design industry. However, a lot of design bootcamps focus on teaching you tools rather than helping you learn how to think, analyse, and solve problems.

Every person solves problem irrespective of their career. Engineers build products, doctors save lives, police catch thieves, and the government keeps citizens happy (errr…). Many people solve problems based on their career paths.

But what is the general idea of a design career? If you tell someone you are a designer, they might say, “Oh, so you are an architect,” or “You design beautiful websites/mobile screens, create Instagram posts, posters, and more.” Nooo… So what do real designers do ?

If I google the definition of design then it shows —

Image source : Google search (design definition)

Designers don’t just design screens. It’s more about thinking, observing, analyzing, understanding user behavior, ergonomics, user psychology, showing empathy, user perceptions, and much more…

The only time a designer gets limelight in a Corp is when it’s a BAD DESIGN because GREAT DESIGN never gets APPRECIATED & GOOD DESIGN is never VISIBLE.

If I want to summarize this, I can say designers are the backbone of a Corp. Most people will disagree, but I will explain how a designer can help grow a company or put it on the verge of bankruptcy. Let’s look at some examples to understand this better.

The Ferrari vs Lamborghini story :

Everyone knows Enzo or I can say the famous Ferrari. But what made the Lamborghini to enter into a car market ? A basic clutch problem that Ferruccio had to deal with and now Lamborghini is one of the top market leaders in luxury car industry.

The Tech Leader — Apple :

Steve Jobs love for creating Macintosh led him getting fired from his own Corp. With Steve Jobs being fired, the Corp went through a rough patch. This eventually led to his re-joining Apple Corp, and in 2001, he launched the most famous and lovable product, the iPod, for the world.

The new age Phone Company Nothing Phone (1) :

Carl Pei, the founder of Nothing Phone, launched the phone with one motive: “everyone else’s smartphones are boring.” With that, he launched the Nothing Phone (1) in 2022, which gained huge success overnight. He not only made tech user-friendly but also interesting for users. The glyph lights, initially made for aesthetics, are now also used for a better user experience.

The Rabbit r1 :

The revolutionary product which is invented to disrupt the mobile device can’t even do a basic task of making calls or sending texts. Why ? Because this is an unfinished product which got launched first and based on users behaviour it will keep on iterating and making it better.

The DC Avanti Car :

The DC Avanti, the car that got a great hype for it’s design and at some point got compared with the Lamborghini’s design. But the car failed. Why ? Poor build quality & lack of basic feature at the price point the creator was selling.

The Windows Phone :

There was nothing wrong with Windows Phone except that software developers didn’t find it a profitable platform for creating apps and so the Windows store always lagged far behind than android play store and iOS app store, this made users to run behind android/iPhone. The company even collaborated with Nokia for their hardware but failed miserably.

So you see, in all these Corps, whether they became successful or failed, designers were somehow involved because they are the ones who understood and worked with the end users. However, only understanding the users’ point of view and making decisions based solely on that is not always a positive path to take.

Made in Figma

The Corps which has grown successfully, all these Corps have somehow collaborated with the designers to understand and made the right decisions.

While Corps which got a lot of funding, having a perfect idea, great team also failed as they didn’t collaborated properly with all the team members including the designers & failed miserably.

So now we can understand that a career in design holds equal weightage to other careers in a Corp, yet designers often struggle to be heard by other team members. Additionally, during times like recessions or slow growth in the company, designers are often the first to be let go for cost-cutting and reasons like designers just make screen look good so we are letting you go…

The question arises: how can we achieve the phase where designers are seen from the same perspective as other careers?

So as our title says, to be powerful in design career you need to understand & learn 2 things.

If you have money, people will listen to you & If you have power to convince, people will follow your steps.

As a designer you can either open your own design agency/studio & hire other designers. In this way, you can achieve the part where you, as a designer, understand both the value of design & business…


you can join a company as a junior designer and climb the ladder all the way up to become a product lead/director of design. However, in this phase, you need to spend a lot more time making others understand the value of design, and often, the business side may not fully grasp or understand that aspect.

This article by Mckinsey Corp explains the value of good design in business. It shows how implementing good design can outperform stakeholders’ returns and lead to steady growth in revenue.

So even if I say a lot of Corps are building great business by collaborating with designer, the real question that arises are they really collaborating with the designers ?

[Source Images: Alexmumu/iStock, vlastas/iStock]

Like a lot of times, I would see a vast difference between the design getting approved and the product that went live for the users.

While questioning to different team members; they will start bragging about time constraint, short on budget, CEO approved the product & much more… So then what’s the point of hiring a designer if you don’t respect and value their opinions? If the efforts in business analysis, understanding user behaviour, connecting with users, and providing feedback never get used in the process of building a product, then what purpose do I serve.

Designers are taught to design and solve users problem. There are not business people, coder or sales person. Designer are always taught to empathize with users and find solutions to their problem. As a business you can always use designers skill & try to collaborate effectively with them so your business runs smoothly and efficiently without any back and forth.

See working as a designer comes at a cost. And the cost is getting paid less.

But then why do designers get paid less than industry standards and some designers just keep on printing money…!!!

Well even the CEO of Nazara Technologies, Krafton India, and Lila Games didn’t had any answers. This is a podcast : WTF by Nikhil Kamath where he asks this question about how a 21 year old can become a game designer in INDIA. So the answer from those CEOs were little hazy as they themselves didn’t had an idea of how one can approach the career as a game design in INDIA.

It’s not just about game design, but the design career as a whole in general. Designers often work much more beyond what one can imagine. However, the salaries that designers get paid don’t always justify the work they do. This is especially true in INDIA, where service-based workers are relatively inexpensive and are often outsourced by developed countries.

What does a designer needs to focus to grow in their career & show their worth ?

Build your own success ladder and climb it.

The only way designers can start getting paid a lot is by doing constant iteration, new projects, learning new tools, collaborating with different career experts and build your own success ladder and climb it. There is no other options or shortcuts or any secret hacks.

So what did you learn from this article ?

Being a designer is a Generalist career,

that means “you need to be jack of all trades master of none; but oftentimes better than a master of one”. You need to have an knowledge across all the domain.

Being a designer needs constant learning,

that means you need to keep an eye on everyday regular activities and keep on learning user behaviours by observing.

Being designer is hard,

that means you are not meant to design beautiful screens but to find solutions for a problem that makes a users life easier.

Being designer is a responsibility,

that means what you design will be used by all different kinds of user across the world. So you have to designing products which should have minimum negative impact on humanity.

Thanks for scrolling.

Design  — A powerful yet powerless career was originally published in UX Planet on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.