“Ultimately, my job as a designer is to look into the future. Its not to use any frame of reference that exists, really. My job is about what is going to happen, not what has happened.” - Marc Newson
For most of us, the majority of our work involves refining, updating and improving existing systems. However, we must never forget that our job is fundamentally about shaping and creating the future. As designers, the very heart of what we do is visualize in our mind what does not presently exist and then set about creating it.
We spend our time categorizing, organizing, labeling and identifying patterns and components. New design frameworks are emerging with the goal of enabling reusable, highly extensible designs and providing a roadmap to innovation. As our applications and products become increasingly more complex, we certainly don’t want to spend our time re-inventing the wheel. But these systems, frameworks and “best-practices” can also prevent us from breaking out of present patterns and making the space and time to envision something entirely new.
We must all be students. We must understand the history that brought us to where we are. We must also constantly have a pulse on what is happening at the present moment. But neither of those will reveal the future. Rather, they become guideposts as we reach into the unknown.
Never stop dreaming. Never stop challenging “how its done.” Never stop looking ahead.