Can Design Solve the Big Issues?
Design has been used to sell unnecessary products throughout the last growth period but now the world and our perceptions have changed. In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, the greedy bankers’ feast and now the onslaught of “the cuts,” many people are rethinking material desires, often feeling that their superficial wants are somehow inappropriate at a time when we all know someone who’s suffering financially. What we want now is value and worth.
We’re focusing on what we need and questioning whether it has any real, intrinsic value. This way of thinking could completely change the game for designers and should mean their skills are channelled away from aesthetics and towards real content that can make a social difference. I feel we are best to focus on creating new products, which embrace technological advancement and gained knowledge but have practical value and meaning. Living in this fast -moving, information age there are many ways to add value. We want to know HOW products are created, the ethical standpoint of the Company, how they treat their staff, and we want to know WHERE products are made and where they end up.
In the past, the focus on making desirable, sexy products to fly off shelves was enough but these days people can find out if a product has flaws with a touch of a button, so a product needs to be designed for it’s whole life span with functionality the key to future success.
Designers and consumers are now starting to factor in what happens after it’s life span and soon designing for the rubbish tip will be outdated until the evolution from raw material to creative, functional product and back into raw material to make new products have been properly designed
I feel now is the most exciting time to call yourself a designer as we have a responsibility to be aware of the whole process and the impact our designs could have on the bigger issues. We need to design for a consumer who has a world of information at their fingertips but that said if it doesn’t look attractive people probably won’t have the inclination to look.
This could mean we haven’t changed that much and everything comes down the slick n sexy design. Maybe, but its increasingly style AND substance we crave, so as we develop a greater knowledge and understanding of the world around us, what we find attractive will also change.