I’ve been thinking “This is probably the hardest year in my life so far” for a couple of years in a row now. Something happens every year to make it harder than the one before. This year was no different.
Not surprisingly, the layoffs were the biggest reason why designers lost their jobs in 2023. Compared to 2022, where only a fraction of them stated that they were let go, 14.3% of this year’s participants said they were laid off.
Retaliation, targeted eliminations, legal disputes, and other horror stories from the tech industry
Try to put yourself in my shoes. I discussed a project that I’m passionate about and shared my thoughts and asked questions trying to find out if a collaboration with you makes sense. I was trying to see if you’re as passionate as I am, but so far, I failed to recognise that passion despite your answers being generally good.
I still think of that moment as the key moment of my career. I didn’t start that job without any experience. I had freelanced for years before that. But I was told that I needed to get a degree and a proper job so that I’ll earn enough money. So I got a degree in economics because there’s no design course at any of the Slovenian universities, and got that high-paying job at the bank. It was a ”proper” job that everyone kept telling me I needed. It wasn’t really a design job either, I was a business process manager. I basically designed software solutions for business processes which is basically what UX designers do.
I was presented with this opportunity in the summer of 2015. Until that point, I had spent two years living in Germany and working for an early-stage startup in Luxembourg. It was the job that I moved abroad for. Now, I finally had the chance to move to London and kickstart my UX design career there. Or so I thought. The gut feeling that I ignored was right. I joined the London-based startup which described the role in the contract as just “designer.” I found it odd at first, but then I consoled my self with something like: they probably see designers as generalists, that’s why they didn’t use UX designer or Product designer to describe the role. Being self-taught and having mostly freelance and early-stage startup experience at the time, I had already considered myself as a generalist. So I deluded myself that calling the role just “designer” was actually a good thing.
I’ve been advocating more daring and bolder use of typography on the web ever since I started the Better Web Type project. Picking a sans-serif font for titles and a serif one for the content is boring. So is placing the title at the top of the post and centre-aligning it. We’ve now had the tools required to design and build more interesting websites with exciting typography but most websites still go for a safer option.
I’ve been trying to achieve this type of design often when I worked on my personal projects. I’ve mostly been looking for inspiration in print and graphic design and tried to translate that to the web. I think I’ve been partially successful at doing that, but something I learned through the process is that websites still prefer to stick with safer approaches when it comes to typography.
53 percent of designers who responded to my survey were UX/Product Designers, around 17 percent were graphic, 9 percent web designers, 6 percent design generalists, 6 percent UI and visual designers, and around 4 percent were design managers. I have to admit that I’m surprised by these numbers as I didn’t expect such a large chunk of UX and Product designers.
My personal website used to be on the matejlatin.co.uk domain and consisted of mostly personal articles. I had only written a few of those in the past few years so it didn’t get a lot of traffic. Long gone were the days when I published an article every week. So the website was updated only every now and then. It was running on Jekyll and was hosted on GitHub Pages. That made a lot of sense when I designed and built it because I wanted to improve my Front-End developing skills, as well as Git.