Ruined by Design — Mike Monteiro

This book was highly mentioned in my daily filter bubble. And so I finally bought it to kickstart my new “please read more books” challenge. It’s about design so it can’t be bad for your job, I thought.

I ordered it on Amazon. Because my preferred book shop around the corner would have taken 3 weeks to deliver it to me. Oh that irony! At least, as an apology, I can now show everyone the clever idea with the cover that’s supposed to speak directly to the Amazon workers processing this book in the warehouses.

I liked it. A lot. The book is written in a funny and witty way that reminds me more of a concatenation of blog posts than a typical non-fiction book about the design industry. I have to admit that it really is US centric in its goal to mobilise. It’s a fine writeup of all the shit that is going down in Silicon Valley relating to privacy leaks, worker rights and election meddling. As it is using these issues as its main examples the book also delivers a broader view of the big issues in the service industry where any kind of product is made or “designed”.

While the first part really sounds like the typical trope of the “designer as saviour of the world”, the book is later showing great examples of how and where one can stand up or push from the bottom to request change in how business is done. And it is also stated that it is an utmost necessity to do that.

I felt caught a couple of times while reading the book. There have been situations where I haven’t lived up to the responsibility I have as a (graphic) designer and where I should have pushed harder for an ethical correct (design) solution. However because of that occurrences while reading I liked this book.

In the end there are, yet again, notes and tips for union building in the US. For me personally I took this as an opportunity to check what is available for me in Germany and I want to read more into that matter.

So if you are a graphic designer in Germany there is a nice overview about Unions right here including the most famous ones AGD and BDG.