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  Design is not enough anymore

Ideas on Ideas: New designers and the moral imperative


The elephant in the room appears to be design.

In my view design is no longer worth all the energy directed at it. Design is no longer an exclusive activity limited to those with access to the tools. Design is not enough anymore.

Anyone wishing to express content in a compelling manner doesn't have to look far to find the form-giving skills necessary to deliver a message effectively. Designers not able to add value to content are merely stylists and style has an extremely limited type of value.

There are no visual innovations unless what is being conveyed is innovative. There are no design innovations unless form enables content to intervene in the world to greater effect. Design is a given nowadays, there is no need to waste so much time discussing the importance of design in business.

Design does not have the power to change the world, it can only assist in articulating potential solutions, solutions that are unlikely to be provided by designers. To beautify a misbehaving corporation is not a moral crime. Beautification is cosmetic and doesn't fool anyone. For those needing to assess the world in moral terms this should be plain to see and they cannot claim to have been seduced by anything design may have contributed.

If the fundamental ideas in a brand are not affected a discussion about design is a waste of time. This view takes the issues under consideration in Eric's post out of the hands of designers. Designers may sometimes be well positioned to flag these issues up for people with suitable competencies but designers should not assume responsibility for these issues on behalf of their clients.

In my view Paula is sufficiently experienced to tackle some of these issues but it is an unrivalled working experience in the field that has enabled this; not some inherent design capability. A discussion about the role of design in relation to issues such as corporate behaviour and sustainability in general seems naive.


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