So, I’m reading these notes from various illustrious speakers, and all I can think is, “I’m sorry… Isn’t this the same circle jerk the “design profession” has been engaged in for the past… 5, 10, 20 years?” “The Power of Design.” “Design is All Around Us.” “Design as Social Responsibility.” etc. etc.
Okay. So I decided to strike-through that. It was a bit harsh, a toss-off based on initial thoughts. Not that I don’t stand by it. But perhaps it’s worth digging a little deeper.
I suppose my main problem is how the notes from presentations at The Power of Design seem to have come from the self-help section in a bookstore. Either it’s the “Design is Everywhere” stuff, detailing just how essential design is in our lives, or it’s the “Design Can Save the World” stuff, all about sustainability, and developing countries, and smart use of resources, or it’s the “Design Is Not Doing Enough”, a set of chastisements about how designers aren’t living up to their potential in a world that needs them.
I suppose it would be less irritating if these were novel ideas — but they seem to be the subject year in and year out. The profession of design can’t help but discuss how glorious and essential it is, while bemoaning its underappreciation and underachievements.
I love working with designers — they see the world in ways I don’t. I just can’t bear this incessant Big Picture Hand Wringing, which inevitably keeps me at arm’s length from the “design profession.” (And causes me to wonder if the AIGA are the appropriate stewards for Big D-Design.)