“The designer just of things… to the one that is about answering more complex problems”

haha who knew McDonalds could be such an inspiration for someone. “it’s about action.” “A Gentleman who created the McDonalds of eyecare.” Gah, IDEO really is so cool- how they approach things with such a global big-picturesque approach. You know I kind of come across a sort of obstacle when I think about my role as a “designer.” So many other designers (and people) say, designers don’t have the skill-sets to tackle global issues, politics, the power, etc. etc. Although I have to say that my short education at DAAP would probably support their argument… I would like to challenge myself, and others to say why not? Why can’t we learn about these things (even working together with people who do know) and apply what we have learned to do something more meaningful in our lives than make trendy materialistic things?

Although reading Papanek’s book is truly inspiring, I did have some thoughtful opposition to what he was saying. Of course not everyone is going to want to make meaningful things. Come on! we live in a country where we are bored so easily, and we think materialistic things are the only thing we can spend our money on to enjoy life, and to indulge ourselves with… Even after that, don’t we use products to stimulate our economy? Don’t we need materialism to stimulate global growth, and to stay afloat? There is no way Papanek’s picturesque designer world to solve all problems would work!

And then I kept reading…

Considering all the areas my list touch upon, one might assume that I feel that the problems of the world can be solved through design. Nothing could be further from the truth. All I am saying is that many problems could be eased through the talents of design intervention. This will mean a new role for designers, no longer as tools in the hands of industry but as advocates for users.”

“The most important ability that a designer can bring to his work is the ability to recognize, isolate, define, and solve problems. My own view is that designs must be sensitive to what problems exist. Frequently the designer will “discover” the existence of a problem that no one had recognized, define it, and then attempt a solution. The number of problems, as well as their complexity, have increased to such an extent that new and better solutions are needed.” 


at last I have some kind of direction I can believe in. I know not everyone feels the same way I feel about how design should go. But I think there is a common ground when Papanek says we all want to solve some kind of problem. 


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