We’ve started using Design as “best supporting actor/actress” as a metaphorical goal for our centralized Design teams at Automattic. It’s an interesting metaphor, right? It’s got to feel good to be up on stage clutching a golden trophy. But why not nominate Design for the starring role? Here’s how I’ve started to think about it.
Imagine it’s Oscar night at your company. Best picture? Those are the projects and goals that led to success for the business and our users this past year. We went out to see that story come to life. Best actor or actress? The product and platform teams that drove those projects to completion. The teams that gave all they had to realize the stories we came to see.
But now it’s the envelope for best supporting actor or actress being opened. Who’s going to win? If we’re doing our job right that’s our Design team. We had a big role to fill. We were there supporting the organization, our business metrics, our teams, and the experience our users are trying to tell us they need.
Think of Heath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight or Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost. They weren’t the stars of the film. But it was their roles that helped to make the picture a complete and memorable work. And so Design will be there helping to bring it all together.
Recognizing a supporting role is really about recognizing teamwork. Recognizing the effort in supporting everyone’s effort and needs in order to make something greater than what any of us could do alone.
When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences started handing out awards in this category with their ninth go at the Oscars in 1936 they were recognizing that a motion picture is made up of many parts. A holistic enterprise where everyone supports a larger effort. That’s an award I look forward to our design teams winning.