Louie Mantia on Tinkering:
I started by tinkering, customizing. Just as an engineer might. You start with something that exists and you change it to understand it. You do things on your own. But now… companies like Apple have locked down things like theming. It’s so hard today that no one even bothers. Changing icons is hard too. With some apps you can’t even do it without an app breaking because of code signing.
It’s a good question and one that has come up often on Debug as it pertains to getting into writing software. I’d never really thought about how the landscape has changed for people in the design field. As Louie says, it used to be that you could customize pretty much anything. That’s not the case anymore.
There are good technical reasons for that and I think they’re in place for all the right reasons. It does, however, mark the end of the wild west era of software. No longer are brilliant kids like Mantia (don’t tell him I said that) going to come up redesigning the look of the system. Because they can’t. These are the people that literally (and I use that word with precision) go on to design some of the most recognized icons in the industry.
Like Louie I do wonder:
[…] will they be able to tinker like we could?
If I was a betting man, I’d bet against it. I’d also bet that something else will come up that nurtures young designers, programmers and people interested in the field. I don’t know what it’ll be but that’s part of the thrill. What used to work no longer does. The drive and the talent are still there though and I’m excited to see what the next wave comes up with.