It seems that we are all pretty much on the same page (at least I hope) when it comes to unsolicited designs. Up until now, designers use to re-design products on their "spare time" and publish them on various blogs and social networks. The problem with this was that by doing so, they were unknowingly promoting the fact that re-design decisions are made based on personal aesthetic preferences and not on company goals, research and user feedback. I'm sure these designers meant no harm, and that these unsolicited designs were done as an act of self promotion, but thankfully we are seeing less and less of these.
The good news is that there is a new wave of positive self-promotional projects. Increasingly, designers are building real sites with real content as a way of grabbing attention. This is great! A good example is this site, offering unsolicited advise for start-ups how design works. I love it. This is such a better use of the creator's time. Projects like this one are usually aesthetically pleasing, full of fun energy, and useful. More importantly, unlike unsolicited re-designs of existing products, these designs are informed because the goals, content and everything else was created by the designer. No more looking like idiots making uniformed aesthetic decisions in Photoshop FTW!
The natural next step in the evolution of self-promotion, should be building products, jumping straight into the deep end of the pool. We're not entirely there yet, but we are definitely heading in the right direction!
Written in New York. © 2012