Well told stories tend to stay with us. Since the dawn of mankind, we have used stories to pass down the knowledge from generation to generation. And they turned out to be quite an effective tool. For better or worse, you will never get rid of all the crap Disney put into your head when you were a kid. There's something about stories that allows the moral and the knowledge contained within to penetrate the human soul deeper than any other format.
Today there is no shortage of great content about design. Tutorials and case studies are useful and practical, Career Advice and Philosophical articles give us an insight into great minds of our industry, Interviews allow us to meet our heroes "in person", and Design Trends... well I guess those are pretty useless.
But stories? Real human stories with characters, plots and heroes, and their journeys? Stories with potential to connect deeply to other human beings? They got replaced.
And maybe we don't need them anymore. Maybe we have more efficient formats and mediums now to expand our knowledge. But, before discarding stories, it's worth mentioning one thing that still makes them stand out as a learning tool compared to any other format - "Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it." --Hannah Arendt
So, in the spirit of our industry, "Yours truly, a Designer" will attempt to prove the hypothesis that storytelling still has a role to play as a unique and therefore irreplaceable learning tool for designers.
Each story that you’ll read is based on true events, and written by professional designers who work their asses off in the real world. Some of them will make you laugh, some of them will make you cry, some of them will surprise you and make you question your own ideas, and hopefully, they will all leave you with a new bit of knowledge that you'll pass onto the next generation.
The stage is set, the lights are on. Let's unravel the stories.
Hey, my name is Bojan Joncic (good luck pronouncing that). I'm a product designer and I have been for the past decade (although it was called differently back in the day). In that time I have worked with over 80 different clients ranging from mom&pop operations, small business, fast-paced startups, slow-ass corporations, and slow ass corporations who like to call themselves startups (when it comes to negotiating your fees). I have experienced the joy of working with some truly brilliant, interesting and capable individuals, but I also haven't been spared from having to deal with the other side of the same coin. The list of my businesses contacts therefore includes both downright geniuses... and complete lunatics, and I'm equally thankful for both.They both taught me different things and shaped me into who I am today.
So, I guess that makes me feel like I have quite a few stories to tell, and I believe there is no better or a more honest and human way to share with my peers what I have learnt over the past decade.
I want to tell you about the shit I've seen with my own eyes, heard with my own ears and touched with my own hands, and hope we can all maybe conclude something from it. Because that is exactly what I would like to hear from other designers.
Marta Krstic - the illustrator behind all the art complementing each story, and my lifelong partner in crime.
Aleksandar Stevanovic - an idiot beyond repair, who keeps helping me whenever I get stuck coding (which is terribly often).
Ivan Perovic, Aleksandar Simovic and David Cibis - my good friends who were the first critics of draft stories. They encouraged me to think that this type of content might actually be valuable to someone. Still not sure if I should love them or hate them for it.
Jelena Hadzic - my loyal (lawyer and reviser) friend from elementary school who helps me edit the stories. She works at a much more important job than I do, basically trying to save the world, but she still finds the time to deal with me, and I couldn't be more greatful.
All the great designers who were kind enough to let me publish their stories.