Pinterest and Flipboard, the two hottest startups in Silicon Valley, owe much of their success to sleek graphic design. They are dressed for success. The tech hub has taken notice. Designers are now in high demand.
Shannon Callahan, a partner at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley's leading talent scouts, has taken heed, reports Advertising Age.
"It's important to realize that designers in general have elevated themselves to being equivalent to engineers," she said.
The new trend was especially evident at Google's I/O developers conference last month. The tech titan showed off new redesigns for Google Maps and Google+. The later appeared to be influenced by the Pinterest design, reports CNET.
An attractive business card is the model for a new Google design theme that's noticeable in Google Maps, Google Now and Google+, reports The New Yorker.
Under the leadership of Steve Jobs, design became an important part of product development at Apple. When Larry Page took over the helm at Google, like Jobs, he put a major emphasis on aesthetics. The Verge recently reported the details of the Project Kennedy design initiative inspired by Page.
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When Flipboard was launched on the iPad in 2010, it was heralded as much for its design as for the novel way it aggregated and delivered the news, reports Mashable. Flipboard's success may be one of the reasons venture capitalists are now focused on grooming the next generation of designers. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, for example, started a design fellowship program this year, selecting college juniors from schools including Rhode Island School of Design, Yale and Stanford as interns at companies such as Square, Jawbone, Klout and Shopkick.
Design is also trending at Twitter. Award-winning designer David Wright is leaving NPR to work with what he considers an all-star team of Web platform designers at the microblogging service, reports Nieman Journalism Lab.