The announcement and immediate backlash of Squarespace’s new Logo feature is less about replacing the role of designers and more about the design of today, January 2014.
Drag-and-drop logo making offends in that it ignores the needs of designers and jumps straight to the aesthetic. Bobby Solomon returns that it enables non-designers to make, but doesn’t grant them the ability to understand how design works. The carpenter isn’t replaced when someone buys a hammer.
But I think there’s a deeper - yet unrealized - discomfort in the community as a result of tools like Squarespace. With the help of the internet and powerful technology, “good design” has finally become not only prevalent, but available. And to a non-designer, “good design” is mistaken as the aesthetic of minimalism.
I’ll admit that Squarespace sites have irked me ever since the 10 update. Not because they’re bad - but because they’re so pretty. Those who are design aware feel shaken when what took little effort looks like something that could be lauded as good work. It’s as if Squarespace found a formula to replicate the designy internet aesthetic of the 2010’s.
The Logo thing, as harmless as its intentions are, poked at this discomfort a little too hard - hence the backlash. And Bobby’s right; designers keep on doing what you’re doing and the thought-out work will rise above what isn’t.
But don’t see Squarespace as an enemy, rather a reminder - or reflection - on design in 2014. If a damn circle with a sans-serif typeface in the middle hits a little too close to home, let’s rethink how we can bring design forward. Think of Squarespace Logo as a push to shake things up and invent.