Wanted: Ambassadors For Good Design

Most designers agree the world would be a better place if more people understood good design. But since designers are always in the minority, outnumbered by managers, marketers, programmers and more, who is going to show them the way? Enter the design ambassador.

Design ambassadors already exist, they just don’t go by that name. They’re the ones who know how to talk about the value of good design in ways most folks can understand. They’re comfortable talking to executives or project managers, confidently making business cases for design resources. They’re OK with the management politics for budgets and strategy and working to gain influence. They’re patient in teaching, for the 50th time, the same basic ideas and concepts to new clients or coworkers, no matter how senior or junior they are.

They do this because they know no one else but designers can or will do it. If we want a better-designed world, or product or organization, or more respect for design, it will only come from designers gaining power or the ability to influence it. Design ambassadors know from human nature the challenge isn’t about more design knowledge: it’s about persuasion, teaching, coaching and inspiring others to think differently.

My mission is to bring design ambassadors together, to help them and to coach new ones. I wrote an upcoming book to pave some of the way for us all.

Will you help? 

  • Are you a design ambassador? Will you share what you know with me?
  • Do you know a great design ambassador I should talk to?
  • Do you want to become a better ambassador for design?
  • Would you help me find, organize, or create, resources design ambassadors need?

If you can say yes to any of these, please leave a comment or get in touch. Thanks. 

21 Responses to “Wanted: Ambassadors For Good Design”

  1. Scott Jenson

    I LOVE this idea. Especially as a lot of us ‘old timers’ are becoming empty nesters, we’re having more time to give back to our community. I’d love to discuss ways to help out, especially for open source teams that are really trying to make a difference and don’t have the resources to get design help.

  2. Clay Nichols

    Great idea.
    Half the challenge with design is, indeed, convincing companies it can benefit them.

    How many therapists does it take to change a lightbulb?

    Only one.
    But it has to WANT to change.

  3. Arty Rivera

    Scott, looking forward to the book and open to helping however I can. I’ve used the Myths of Innovation lost in so many occasions explaining the value of design collaboration so thanks for that already!

  4. Raphael Spannocchi

    Great idea.
    I’d think that non-designers like me would be good to explain great design. And then interface designers, stakeholders and users.
    But maintaining the consumer perspective is would be most relevant to the job in my mind.

  5. Jon Walter

    Hi Scott,

    I am interested in participating in your ambassador initiative—and learning more about it. Here is more about me:


    Furthermore, this topic dovetails into many of my own experiences. My monthly column I write for UXmatters often delves deep into the topic of succeeding as the scarce UX professional in big (often stuffy) enterprise environments, where we are usually outnumbered:


    All the best,

    Jon Walter

  6. Angelos Arnis

    I love the idea. I have been trying to solidify my own idea of what constitutes as good design. Also calling it holistic design and for now I use those terms interchangeably. Would love to talk more.

  7. Jason Mesut

    I’d love to help if I can. I have some personal and professional missions in this area. I want to celebrate all design. And help build up capabilities in designers and beyond.

  8. Jen

    Yes I hear ya! I struggle with getting stakeholders on board with good design, informed by research. When will this scary ride ever end? I want to learn more.
    PS on the website filed above, don’t require the http portion. WWW should. E good enough.

  9. Matthew J Conway

    Hey Scott,
    I”d love to lend a hand.
    Count me in.

  10. Prerak

    I have formal technical education as an IT engineer, love for creativity/art in general and passion of an entrepreneur.

    Also an avid explorer of science behind why people do what they do. How colors, typography, musical notes, animation, human expressions, concept of money, words/languages and its context etc help us form opinions of people about life/work and how they go by it throughout their life.

    One of the most powerful yet underestimated perspective to inspire hence improve human consciousness without conscious efforts (gracefully) is ”design/art”.

    I would love to contribute what I have learned as an engineer and an entrepreneur that lead me to respect design/art in general.

  11. Vicky Teinaki

    Right, someone else seconded that I actually am a design ambassador so I’m putting my name down :) I blame spending 2003-5 dealing with confused faces at the degree I was studying (“what’s product design?” “er, designing products. Like toothbrushes”), thus sentencing myself to a life of doing similar across my jobs (“what’s UX?” “what do you do?”).

    1. Salma

      Vicky is too modest to share that the person that seconded that is the Head of Interaction Design at GDS (government digital service). Vicky is a great design ambassador and is always sharing her design knowledge and expertise.

  12. Callie Neylan

    Sign me up! I’ve been doing this my entire career. Subject Matter Expert with an MFA in Design from UW. Taught design at UW, MICA, and University of Maryland.

  13. Adam

    Hey Scott,

    Very interesting initiative! would love to be involved. I would strongly suggest, getting into Lou Downe’s new book – Good Services. I think she has a really great perspective on what a good service is (or good design) and also the consequences of what comes from bad design.

    All the best. Adam


    Hey Scott,
    It’s Brian, your Midwestern Negroni hook-up! I ended up selling my business and am now working in an 3D printing and additive manufacturing company (midwestproto.com). I’m loving the interplay between engineering, design and technology and based on your definition above, I think I’m already a Design Ambassador! Would love to talk more…

  15. Deepa Iyer

    Hi Scott,

    Love the idea and happy to help! I am an engineer turned design evangelist. I’ve learned a ton trying to get different orgs to understand why design is important and how to engage with them. Count me in as a Design Ambassador!


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