We Designers are the ones with the wherewithal to understand the several connections between disciplines. It’s fair then that we ought to take the lead in making sure that products (and services) are designed responsibly. While Designers do have a responsibility towards justifying the fees they take from their clients, they have a much larger responsibility to the clients’ customers.
Design should be used to create the spark, not just to fight the fire.
The highest value comes from a designer’s work when products she designs can keep users delighted, safe and comfortable while simultaneously ensuring the planet is safe and well.
Now is the opportunity for designers to use the power of design, not just to improve lifestyles but also to practice design in a way that balances social and environmental interests.
From an excellent post by Brian Ling suggesting design freedom + designer responsibility. He makes a strong point with the following from Victor Papanek’s Design For The Real World —
There are professions more harmful than industrial design, but only a very few of them. And possibly only one profession is phonier. Advertising design, in persuading people to buy things they don’t need, with money they don’t have, in order to impress others who don’t care, is probably the phoniest field in existence today. Industrial design, by concocting the tawdry idiocies hawked by advertisers, comes a close second. Never before in history have grown men sat down and seriously designed electric hairbrushes, rhinestone-covered file boxes, and mink carpeting for bathrooms, and then drawn up elaborate plans to make and sell these gadgets to millions of people. Before (in the ‘good old days’), if a person liked killing people, he had to become a general, purchase a coal-mine, or else study nuclear physics. Today, industrial design has put murder on a mass-production basis. By designing criminally unsafe automobiles that kill or maim nearly one million people around the world each year, by creating whole new species of permanent garbage to clutter up the landscape, and by choosing materials and processes that pollute the air we breathe, designers have become a dangerous breed. And the skills needed in these activities are taught carefully to young people.
In an age of mass production when everything must be planned and designed, design has become the most powerful tool with which man shapes his tools and environments (and, by extension, society and himself). This demands high social and moral responsibility from the designer. It also demands greater understanding of the people by those who practise design and more insight into the design process by the public.
I stumbled upon this video that made me numb and hopeful at the same time.
Severn Suzuki addresses the UN conference on Environment 1992 at Rio on behalf ECO (Environmental Childrens Organisation) run by a bunch of 12 and 13 year olds. She must have turned 33 this year. 2 decades and 1 year on, we’ve only plundered more.
When will we STOP!!?
Her morality accuses our ethics.
Did you hear the anger, the angst and the anxiousness? Did you hear her plead for us to stop plundering the planet? Did you hear her cry for justice and for a safe future for her children? If you didn’t, hit the play button again. And again … and again, till you do.
Two of my favourite subjects here – the fascinating global warming debate and India’s bollywood style negotiation script. Hopenhagen is around the corner and will make Kyoto passe. We love being underdogs because like our movies, the hero comes from behind in a good-over-evil victory lap while the crowd applauds his heroic antics.
Two wrongs don’t make a right, and I fully intend the pun.
US spews Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere when India sleeps. [Pat on back .. I’m getting good at puns]Now India wants America to pay for their long and sinful polluting behaviour. And guess what, if they don’t, we’ll have an equal right to kill the planet first so we’re even. That’s the craziest example of serving our self interests I’ve come across. It’s almost like saying that since I just found out that my neighbour has been raping my mother for 20 years, the way to punish him is by killing my own mother. Continue reading “Let’s cut our noses. Yes Prime Minister!”