As you all probably know by now, an app called Color was released last week in to the wild. Since it's release it has received some pretty nasty reviews, rants on twitter (myself included) and parodies. As a person that creates products for a living, I know for a fact that this scenario is a nightmare for the production team. My heart goes out to them. With that said, I think there is a small lesson to be learned here.
If there is one thing that the whole Color fiasco reminded me of (and should remind you as well) is that design matters. We should never forget that. VC's and start-ups need to wake up, and this is a perfect opportunity for us designers to splash some cold water on their faces.
I won't go into the the details of how Color faulted, because I think there is a bigger issue at play here: Not enough respect for creatives in the start-up world.
Nowhere in the press did I see a Creative Director's name being mentioned. All I know is that Color's core team consists of "Superstar" executives and technologists. But not one word was mentioned about the design team. Who are they? We have no idea. Not one word. That leads me to believe that they either hired junior designers to design a $41M app or there was absolutely no respect for the Creative Director (which leads to all kinds of bad). Both scenarios ignore the importance of design.
I have no idea what Color's back story is, and what went through the minds of the designers and the executive team. But I am sure that an experienced Creative Director that was respected in the company, would have never allowed the release of the current Color UI design. Even when threatened by ASAP, fictional deadlines and anxious investors, a good Creative Director should be able to handle the pressure. Problems arise when the Creative Director is not respected, decisions made by him/her are disregarded and crappy design is released.
But color isn't the only one that turns a blind eye to creatives. Rarely do I see start-ups mention their Creative Director or creative team. Why? In this day-in-age, UI design needs to be one of the most important things for a web start-up. VCs need to bath in the glorious fact that they have a really amazing Creative Director in their core team.
Maybe we need to change the terminology from Creative Director to CCO to make it more respectable? Sorry Chief Communications Officer.
Written in New York. © 2012