Hello! I hope you are doing well and that you've had the opportunity to go outside today. My name is Joel Marchand. I'm an interdisciplinary designer and creative technologist. This is my portfolio. The rest of the page will load in 04:18.
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At least 5 times a month I think about the"End-of-History" illusion. If you're not familiar, it's the idea that, at any given point in time , we think we've grown as much as we ever will and that our current beliefs will continue to be our beliefs forever . I think I've always known that was a thing but it's nice to have a word for it. Now, when I look back at all the things I've believed, I don't feel like I have to judge that person for feeling the way they did then.
I get to makethings for a living. This website is a thing I made to talk about the things I've made. I like what I do. I like the feeling I get when somebody tells me that a thing I made makes them feel something nice. I've made a lot of portfolios in the 9 years I've been making things for a living. I've written a lot of catchy 3rd person bios. I've also droned at length about the value of business strategy, human-centered design, and appropriate research methodologies when I really just wanted to talk about how nice it feels to make something beautiful .
Like many before me, I was drawn todesign because I loved discovery and I wanted to do something that mattered. The idea that my work could make the world a better place was exhilarating! For a long time that idea made me really happy . I loved feeling like a part of the story of progress that was going to save us all from ugliness, ignorance, and inconvenience. The story of progress was my "End-of-History."
For a long time that idea made me really ✧ really just means "design that does what it's supposed to do." Or really, "good design" is "obedient design." It doesn't ask questions that aren't polite in powerful company. I've been an obedient designer and I am still sometimes. But that's not what I want for my life.happy . And then it didn't anymore. It wasn't a sudden or dramatic change. It mostly feels like I looked closely one day and saw the holes in my story that were there all along. I wasn't making the world a better place. I was "optimizing tools" to make people work more efficiently so the people who owned their work could make more money. I wasn't making beautiful things. I was "creating value" for companies who ruthlessly strip-mine culture, attention, and mental health. As a part of the ethics-washing, theft of commons, tech-will-save-us industrial complex, I am culpable for all the harm it has done. I've heard well intentioned designers say "it's not good design if it's not good for people." But I don't think that's true. We can't ignore the fact that "good design"
In the 1930s someone named"Upton Sinclair" is quoted as saying "It is difficult to get [someone] to understand something, when [their] salary depends upon [them] not understanding it!" I feel like Upton when I ask myself why it is so easy to pretend to care about something just because somebody important at an important company said it was important. I guess, in the end, I don't want to look back and realize that I spent my life making it easier for people with a lot of privilege and power to take advantage of other people who don't have as much as they do.
I do understand that this is all nuanced.I've worked with some really big companies and I've had good experiences and bad experiences with the people who make up those big companies. If there's one thing I've learned from all the "End-of-History-ing" I've done it's that I don't have the answers yet. The funny thing is, when I think about it, that's what got me excited about design in the first place. I just lost sight of the joy of curiosity and mystery somewhere along the way to being a contributing member of the capitalocene.
I'm writing all this herebecause, as I said before, this website is a thing I made to talk about the things I've made and if we're going to be making things together, I want to make sure our ideas about what matter are compatible. I'll be honest. I don't know how to get you more customers. I don't know how to make your users more engaged. And I don't know how to make consumers loyal to your brand. I don't know anything about customers, users, or consumers because those are just depersonalizing words we use to help us forget that people are really complicated and nuanced. Besides, knowing something takes all the fun out of discovering it!
If we're going to work together,I want to hear about what makes you feel alive. I want to hear about what you think is beautiful. I want to hear about your calling because I want to help you make the most of it. I believe that you matter and that your ideas are important! I want to make beautiful things with you that remind us all that we are in this together. Because, no matter what else changes, that's something I know will always be worth believing in.