Design & Society Nico Macdonald http://spy.typepad.com/design_and_societyhttp://spy.typepad.com/design_and_society Nigel Whiteley (1993). Design for Society, Reaktion Books, London, UK
Design & Society ● designer connotation ● prestige? arty?
Design as driver ● one of the key drivers ● quality of life ● economic prosperity / standard of living ● innovative designers ● ability of society to innovate depends on skills of designers ● innovative users & consumers ● users of products & services are key drivers
Issues ● globalisation ● climate change ● rapid technology change ● ageing population ● global security
Issues ● design solves or creates problems? ● widens social gap? ● role / responsibility of designer ● should designers predict long-term consequences? ● design ethics ● should / can designers refuse? ● are there bad problems? (arms, gaols, disposables)
Design Society ● society influences people / designers ● design changes environment / society ● social behaviour changes as a result of tools we create ● e.g. World Wide Web ● society changes society? ● WWW not designed to change democracy
Design “the means by which many desirable goods and services are put out of the reach of large sections of the community” Jeremy Meyerson, “Designing for Public Good”, Design Week, 1990,P13.
Consumer-led Design ● consumer-led or manufacturer-led ● manufacturers decide what users want ● re-engineer users rather than vice-versa ● human needs or human desires? ● design for ‘yuppies’ ● constant state of longing ● planned obsolescence ● BUT QUESTIONS OF CHOICE ● one telephone, one colour?
Consumer-led Design ● consumer-led or manufacturer-led ● in reality consumers enticed to a place didn’t know existed ● designers’ responsibility ● to make moral judgements? ● interfering with consumers’ right to chose in a free society?
Design for Profit ● design for a better world ● by making products more efficient, easier to use ● design for profit ● ultimately about sales & profits ● Raymond Loewy’s view of design ● “ a beautiful sales curve shooting upwards” letter to the Times, 19 Nov. 1945
Design for Profit “no product, however well its aesthetic functions are fulfilled, may be termed a good example of industrial design unless it meets the acid test of high sales through public acceptance” Gordon Lippincott, Design for Business, 1947, Chicago
Design as Lifestyle ● design expresses lifestyle ● social status ● lifestyle determines product design ● Ipod, Walkman, Swatch ● fashion accessories? ● designed for ‘switched-on’ people ● e.g. Habitat, Alessi
Design as Lifestyle “designers become more important in producing ‘want’ products rather than ‘need’ products”
Globalization of Design ● lifestyle greater determinant than regional characteristics ● Swatch sells all over the world ● threat of anonymous standardization ● tailored to regional needs ● e.g. Philishave, Braun for Japanese hands
Sustainable Design ● profit as determinant ● if raison d’etre of design is financial then bottom line is all need to know ● wider costs to community
Green Design ● over-used term? ● shouldn’t all design be sensible design? ● technology not neutral ● part of an integrated economic, political and social system ● just another lifestyle term?
Green Design ● impact on other people – earth ● need ● do I need this product? ● is this the designer’s responsibility?
10 Questions ● is there a risk of disastrous failure? ● (Bhopal, Chernobyl) ● could the product be cleaner? ● is it energy efficient? ● could it be quieter? ● should it be more intelligent? ●(e.g. switch itself off) ● is it overdesigned? ● how long will it last? ● what happens when its useful life ends? ● could it find an environmental market? ● will it appeal to the green consumer? John Elkington booklet for the Design Council in 1986
Green Design ● energy consumption or conservation? ● not simple ● may run efficiently but energy costly to produce
Special Needs ● design for the aged ● design for the young ● design for the disabled
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