Design needs to have a purpose. Today—more than ever before. As designers, we need to have a clear understanding of our roles and responsibilities. And of the way in which our work affects the economical landscape in which our clients and their customers reside. As middleman, we need to ensure that the most important projects are match our long-term goals, values and beliefs.
A clear purpose gives direction and traction. Without a direction, the designer is just wandering around and jumping from one opportunity to another. He doesn't know what is valuable in them. Following "the next big thing" isn't equal to a thoughtful purpose. It implies that the "previous thing" is already perfect and can't be improved. Trying to predict or invent the future stops us from acting in the present, which is even more important. Future-thinking is expensive for the design of the present. Small, down-to-earth, meaningful acts can move us gradually to a better environment, which doesn't rotate around us, but is a function of our high-level purpose.
Projects are more often done for the payment than for a meaningful purpose. Sites targeted at freelancers prove this. Contest holders have more and more variety to chose from, meaning that prices are always falling down. Quantity blows up like a balloon. Quality is dehumanized. Purpose is missing. Designers are seen as mass producers, like in the industrial age, when workers were part of the automated facilities.
Not only designers can be creative and have good ideas. But ideas have to be categorized in the right drawers that should be opened only if our purpose matches the drawer's title and most of our values are backed through the decision. Other ideas aren't as good fit to our personality, which is a waste of potential.
A purpose has to have an element of generosity. It needs to bug you from the inside every day, disciplining your thought in a particular direction. It contributes to the design of our mentality and drives us to provide maximum value. We don't just solve human problems through design, we lay the ground on which our followers will step.
We need to raise the flag of purpose high in the sky of our mind.