Market Differentiation

You do not differentiate yourself through buzzwords. You do not differentiate yourself by finding new words for the same thing.

You differentiate yourself by being approachable and by doing work in a different, new, or novel manner.


There is a lot to be said about buzzwords in design. It’s easy to use them. It’s even easier to teach them to clients and hear them said left and right. But that doesn’t make it right. Take a second a review the list below.

  • Conceptualize
  • Ideate
  • Visualize
  • Synergy (synergize)
  • Leverage
  • Disrupt
  • Paradigm
  • Spin Up
  • Streamline
  • Game Change
  • Revolutionize

This is a (very) abbreviated list. But how many of these terms have you used, or heard used? How many can you find simpler, plainer language terms for? Let’s try:

  • Conceptualize – Think About
  • Ideate – Think About
  • Visualize – Make
  • Synergy (synergize) – Work Together
  • Leverage – Build off/Support Each other
  • Disrupt – Devil’s Advocate
  • Paradigm – Example, Best Practice (even that’s iffy!)
  • Spin Up – Start
  • Streamline – Improve
  • Game Change – Improve
  • Revolutionize – Improve

This list got boiled down to a few key words, Think, Make, Work, Improve just to name a few. So what’s with the need for buzzwords? As we establish our brands, our identities, and our processes, why do we think these words will save us? Much the same as a fancy car doesn’t change a poor driver to a good one, fancy words don’t change bad design to good.

Instead of focussing on what we call ourselves, focus on what we do.

This is not a Define the Damn Thing rant. This is a frustration for trying to come up with new ways to say the same thing. We are all designers. We are all developers. We might focus on different types of problems. We might have a different process. But let that come out in our conversations. Don’t be different for the sake of being different. Don’t try to be something you’re not. Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman.



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