Why not design school

Michael Bierut answers the question I receive most often

What do you study? Political science and history.

But don’t you design websites? Yeah.

So why aren’t you at design school, or studying computer science?

This last question usually trips me up.

I struggle to explain why I study the humanities while I work in design and tech. I reach for explanations posing the humanities as “studying my subject.” (A designer’s work is ultimately always about humans.) I protest that you don’t need a design or computer science degree to work in those fields. I argue that it’s essential as a designer to have other sources of expertise to draw from. While not wrong, those answers feel insufficient.

Enter Michael Bierut.

Two essays of his answer the question more effectively than I ever have:

  1. Warning: May Contain Non-Design Content
  2. Why Designers Can’t Think

I came across them excitedly, because they word my thoughts so well. Maybe they’ll help others understand why I’m not at design school.