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More Designers, Better Design

Updated: Dec 1, 2021

When I look for my next job, the number one thing I will be looking for is the Design Maturity of the organization. When I think of companies that have design maturity, truthfully, the only one that comes to mind is Airbnb, but I know there must be others. Maybe Capital One?

Just because a company has a lot of designers, does not mean the company itself has a high design maturity. I am seeing this a lot lately in consumer apps at least. Google for example. According to LinkedIn, there are 6,644 people with Designer in their title working at Google. But I wouldn't say Google is a design driven company. It's led by engineers.

Capital One has 1,512 designers working at their company. Airbnb has 939. Apple has 7,802. Facebook has 2,767. Maybe I should look at percentages?

Airbnb 12,775/939 7.3% of the company is designers

Apple 212,970/7,802 3.6% of the company is designers

Capital One 53,092/1,512 2.8% of the company is designers

Google 176,327/6,644 3.8% of the company is designers

Facebook 52,863/2,767 5.2% of the company is designers

So Airbnb is the highest percentage of designers to total employees. Makes sense if they have a high design maturity. The Facebook number surprises me because I do not think of them as having a high design maturity.

But then I look at Amazon and Netflix and am surprised by Netflix.

Amazon 332,437/9,084 2.7% of the company is designers

Netflix 7,901/779 9.9% of the company is designers

So it would seem Netflix and Airbnb would be my top choices. Netflix is way too far away for me. About a 2 hour commute, so Airbnb would have to be my top choice. I like Airbnb, respect their mission and think they have high design maturity, but you never really know until you get inside a company.

I am seeing a lot more companies hiring designers, but I wonder if they understand why. I am not seeing design elevated in companies as I would expect with more designers being hired.

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