Explaining why I make myself obsolete as a designer

Anouk Lubbers. heeft dit artikel geschreven

In just a few weeks we will organize a meet-up at Lifely with the topic ‘Will design agencies become obsolete?’ My answer is clear, and I would love to tell you what it is and why, so don’t stop reading.

First things first, let me introduce myself. My name is Anouk Lubbers, and for three years in a row I’m working as a product designer at Lifely. A cozy and warm agency with a lot of talented hardworking people. We love to share our knowledge and try to explain everything to the client so they understand what we are doing, why we are doing it and how we do it. We make ourselves obsolete. 

“When I was aware of this, I got a weird feeling of panic. Why would we do that?”

When I was aware of this, I got a weird feeling of panic. Why would we do that? All of this started when the design team transformed from one to six members. We started to notice a difference in working together. Some things were even better than before but some things were also horrible. So as a team we decided to combine all these things and started our own design culture. The culture is now written down and we call it the design guidelines of Lifely. Everything is in there, the rules and ways how to set up documents, spacings, color use, and of course the design choices that were made for the project. So, if the client is taking back the control of the project and recruited a designer for his own in-house team, this designer can understand everything and get to work in just one minute.

"...this designer can understand everything and get to work in just one minute."

I can still hear you thinking, ‘why would you do that’? Making yourself obsolete is scary. At least, I find it scary. It means that the things you do can be done by anyone. That you are replaceable. And no-one wants to feel like anyone can take their spot. That used to make me feel small. These days I try to look at it differently. When I’m able to make myself truly obsolete, it means I understand and can transfer that to my colleagues, so they can understand. But also the client understands all the decisions. And the beautiful thing about that is when they understand, they can easily create their own team. We deliver our specialism as we should.

Maybe I’m a dreamer and maybe not. But I believe that by making yourself obsolete, we can create a beautiful design community where we can learn much from each other. I would love to hear what you do to make yourself obsolete or why you would never do that? Come visit the design meet-up from March 19th, and let’s talk! 

Do you have a question? Send me a message at, I would love to hear from you.