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Guest csven

Frogdesign: Design Has Outgrown “industrial Design”

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Guest csven

frogdesign's Jon Kolko: "The End of an Era":

 

...what is becoming increasingly obvious: the IDSA has served a valuable role in the evolution of design as a professional discipline, and has helped advance the field to a point where the IDSA is now essentially irrelevant. Design has outgrown “Industrial Design”...

 

My post from 2006: The Death of "Industrial Design"

 

...as far as I’m concerned, the job description “Industrial Designer” should be put to rest. There may not be much use for it in the future anyway. We may as well make the break now.

 

So, students, what are you doing? How are you going to get a job in a world with far more industrial designers than industrial design jobs? With a ton of debt from your education, are you ready for "Product Design as a Hobby?"

 

I've discussed what I think might happen to Industrial Design as a profession; posted in old Core77 threads and elsewhere. I'll try to post a blog entry regarding those earlier comments later this coming week.

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Guest iMagxz

Every occupation has already been turned into a hobby, its about time for ID.

Graphic designers still have their job, but I would think that a huge chunk of people that have acquired the adobe suite(legally or not), are not graphic designers.

 

The same goes for every profession I can think of. Point being there will always be enthusiasts in every field.

 

Even if RP becomes cheap and available, there will always be some level of skill needed to build something. What part of the population will be willing to go through the trouble...

 

frogdesign's Jon Kolko: "The End of an Era":

 

...what is becoming increasingly obvious: the IDSA has served a valuable role in the evolution of design as a professional discipline, and has helped advance the field to a point where the IDSA is now essentially irrelevant. Design has outgrown “Industrial Design”...

 

My post from 2006: "The Death of Industrial Design"

 

...as far as I’m concerned, the job description “Industrial Designer” should be put to rest. There may not be much use for it in the future anyway. We may as well make the break now.

 

So, students, what are you doing? How are you going to get a job in a world with far more industrial designers than industrial design jobs? With a ton of debt from your education, are you ready for "Product Design as a Hobby?"

 

I've discussed what I think might happen to Industrial Design as a profession; posted in old Core77 threads and elsewhere. I'll try to post a blog entry regarding those earlier comments later this coming week.

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Guest csven
Every occupation has already been turned into a hobby, its about time for ID.

It's not whether every occupation has been turned into a hobby (an exaggeration), it's whether or not industrial designers are aware the occupation is, according to some of us, dead or dying. If they are, why do there seem to be so many students studying it? And if they do realize, what else are they doing to prepare themselves? I'm not seeing a level of discourse suggesting awareness. I'm still seeing the "Which CAD program do I need", "Do I really have to draw to be a designer", and "Wow, check out this kewl pair of kicks" stuff.

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Guest iMagxz

I think the reason so many ID'ers are finding non-ID jobs is because essentially, ID is problem solving. Employers in creative fields know this, no?

If ID ever "died" I suspect the education would be transformed into just "Design", which would teach essential concepts and skills that could be applied to any design field. Hence why ID people can be found outside of product development and in graphic design,3d modelling,arts,etc...

 

Also, if ID is dying, why does there seem to be a larger focus on "Design" in many companies? Are executives not noticing the value in Design?

 

Every occupation has already been turned into a hobby, its about time for ID.

It's not whether every occupation has been turned into a hobby (an exaggeration), it's whether or not industrial designers are aware the occupation is, according to some of us, dead or dying. If they are, why do there seem to be so many students studying it? And if they do realize, what else are they doing to prepare themselves? I'm not seeing a level of discourse suggesting awareness. I'm still seeing the "Which CAD program do I need", "Do I really have to draw to be a designer", and "Wow, check out this kewl pair of kicks" stuff.

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Guest csven
I think the reason so many ID'ers are finding non-ID jobs is because essentially, ID is problem solving. Employers in creative fields know this, no?

They do? Exactly what kinds of non-ID jobs are graduates getting which involve "problem solving" of the sort people like Tim Brown and Bruce Nussbaum discuss? I'm curious.

 

If ID ever "died" I suspect the education would be transformed into just "Design", which would teach essential concepts and skills that could be applied to any design field. Hence why ID people can be found outside of product development and in graphic design,3d modelling,arts,etc...

I thought "Design" was already the core of studying industrial design. I had two years of design before I even got a chance to apply to the ID program. I realize that's unusual (and even my alma mater has gone from a 5 year to a 4 year curriculum), but I assume graphic design, 3D modelling (which isn't "design" really) are taught as part of current programs; areas which have dedicated courses of study, btw.

 

Also, if ID is dying, why does there seem to be a larger focus on "Design" in many companies? Are executives not noticing the value in Design?

 

http://blog.rebang.com/?p=363

http://blog.rebang.com/?p=1142

http://twitter.com/reBang/statuses/1095405081

 

From the last link in the last link:

 

The concept was also done in, strangely enough, by a male-dominated economic leadership that rejected the extraordinary progress in “uncertainty planning and strategy” being done at key schools of design that could have given new life to “innovation. To them, “design” is something their wives do with curtains, not a methodology or philosophy to deal with life in constant beta—life in 2009.

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Guest matt___

I suppose it depends on how you define "death". Does a caterpillar die when it changes into a butterfly?

 

I don't think Jon Kolko is talking about the absolute death of industrial design, he's talking about the (ir)relevance of an organisation which doesn't understand the way in which the profession has (and continues to) metamorphose. To be honest I can't believe he's only just noticed; is it really possible to work for Frog and not have known this for a long time? Core77 has lots of posts on the theme of "What's the point of joining the IDSA." The reasons never seem to be more profound than "it's a good way to make contacts."

 

Industrial Design as a profession which involves giving form to mass-produced objects is dying. Industrial Design as a profession which gives meaning to individual experiences is only just emerging from the chrysalis. Whether ID dies or not depends on whether the profession is flexible enough to accommodate these new ways of looking at problems. If not, another term will emerge. I already know some people who continue to call themselves industrial designers, for whom the 'traditional' notion of ID is only a small fraction of what they do. But at the same time they're not particularly bothered what other people call them - if a new term emerges they'll call themselves that instead.

 

Personally I suspect that Industrial Design will still exist as a profession in future, simply because the very best industrial designers can't help rebelling against those who tell them "it has to be done this way." I'm also fond of this quote:

 

"What is industrial design? It was never an easy question to begin with, and it has not, through the years, become any easier. I have never seen a definition that adequately covered all of the projects that industrial design offices undertake. And even if a satisfactory definition were devised, it probably would not cover all of the activities that industrial design offices will undertake in a few years from now."

 

It was written by Ralph Caplan in 1969. But it doesn't mean that ID in future will look the way it has done in the past.

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I wrote a long post about the evolution of design and the purpose of the IDSA - but since the forum erased it I will just leave it at this:

 

"The rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated"

 

Plus I'm not sure how much I trust the future of ID to an interaction designer. Especially one with such big ear rings. ;)

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Guest Nod

I am new here and looking forward to being involved.

 

As someone who graduated as an Industrial Designer, some time ago, and has worked freelance, in-house (also as a design engineer), co-founded two design companies, I suppose I would call myself a product designer.

 

I am now trying to get back into the sort of design service work I used to provide. I have experienced developing a design business and inventing our own technology and products only for investors to come in, change personnel, think they know how a business should be run, and in the end, waste their own money! If I have learnt anything about design recently, it is not a 'hobby' but a very complex and costly procedure. To explain this. In our case, the investors basically wanted to put their own people in to run the company. OK they had put the money in. They sidelined the designers as they wanted 'real' business men in place! Although I did all the commercial work that brought money into the company (seven figure sum), these great business men enjoyed the 'glitzy' opportunities of meeting big companies around the world and taking the kudos.

 

Sadly, they had no idea of the design culture and how to make money in it. It happened with both companies and is not a coincidence. If you ever get investors interested in something you create / invent, the day they leave no designers involved in the business strategy, walk away. Design needs to be stronger in industry and more than putting a pretty face on products. But it also has to increase its standing to stop businesses thinking it's easy!

 

Sorry to ramble on my first post.

Cheers

Nod

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Guest JMAG
Plus I'm not sure how much I trust the future of ID to an interaction designer. Especially one with such big ear rings. ;)

 

Lets simplify the history. Artisans/Craftsmen------------>ID-------------->IxD, UxD?(more to come???)

 

Maybe, then, its not the "industrial" part of ID that has the problem. Maybe its the term "Design" altogether...

 

-Marketing refers to a specific thing, "we sell stuff"

-Engineering to a less specific thing, but we know the key words...whether you have exposure to this world or not, everyone knows what an engineer does, they "make".

-Management is self explanatory, like the others..

-Design?... colors? decorating? what? It has too many associations that throw everyone off.

 

Maybe the wording of the profession would be enough to turn the tide,that and a clear definition. Then maybe the future can fall into place with "insert new term here" in the picture.

 

This has been discussed before, no? How can the rest of the world give us work if most of them don't know what we do?

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Guest csven
I suppose it depends on how you define "death". Does a caterpillar die when it changes into a butterfly?

That's why industrial design is dead; it's no longer the profession created to inject humanity into machine-driven, mass-produced objects. While some - even many - are constrained by a process, it's been shifting; a consequence of the improvements in how we make things.

 

I don't think Jon Kolko is talking about the absolute death of industrial design, he's talking about the (ir)relevance of an organisation which doesn't understand the way in which the profession has (and continues to) metamorphose. To be honest I can't believe he's only just noticed; is it really possible to work for Frog and not have known this for a long time? Core77 has lots of posts on the theme of "What's the point of joining the IDSA." The reasons never seem to be more profound than "it's a good way to make contacts."

I think he's talking about both. His comments on materials and suggestion of the need for traditional industrial designers to expand their skillsets is indicative of this, imo.

 

Industrial Design as a profession which involves giving form to mass-produced objects is dying. Industrial Design as a profession which gives meaning to individual experiences is only just emerging from the chrysalis. Whether ID dies or not depends on whether the profession is flexible enough to accommodate these new ways of looking at problems. If not, another term will emerge. I already know some people who continue to call themselves industrial designers, for whom the 'traditional' notion of ID is only a small fraction of what they do. But at the same time they're not particularly bothered what other people call them - if a new term emerges they'll call themselves that instead.

We don't disagree. The only difference seems to be in my willingness to be more blunt.

 

Personally I suspect that Industrial Design will still exist as a profession in future, simply because the very best industrial designers can't help rebelling against those who tell them "it has to be done this way."

Those designers may morph into the independent designers I predicted would emerge:

 

"theres an argument for two kinds of IDer: those that exist in big corp product machines, pumping out cell phone give-aways to entice people to sign service contracts; and those that address the more fickle and competitive niche markets too small for the corporations to care about" - http://boards.core77.com/viewtopic.php?f=5...7637p7637

 

But it doesn't mean that ID in future will look the way it has done in the past.

Especially if it's dead. ;)

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ID isn't dead . . . it isn't even close to being dead, in fact its relevance hasn't been ever more apparent.

 

As an automotive enthusiast I didn't believe there would be a day when I would even consider a Hyundai appealing, but look at the new Genesis Coupe, it not only looks good but it also delivers on its interior, performance and handling. How about Apple? Their entire success is built on design. IKEA? Maybe not the best quality but they got absolutely filthy rich on bringing affordable, innovative and good looking designs to the masses. Their are tons of examples.

 

The Industrial Design market is simply over saturated, I would agree that design firms are dying buy that's because every joe blow with a manufacturing company has an industrial designer on staff that's willing to get paid $15 an hour because he can't find a job anywhere else. Why pay a design firm $50 000 to design you a product when you can pick and choose from tons of designers willing to do it for a fraction of the price.

 

And sites like Coroflot don't really help when you think about it. Yes its great exposure but companies know its all to easy to find a designer that's willing to do cheap work and if they don't like them spit them out and find a new one.

 

The problem lies with education systems. All over the world institutions are pumping out designers at a much higher rate than can be accommodated in the market place. There are tons of design jobs but they are all filled up. China is opening 300 design schools? That's sickening!

 

Don't bash ID because your fed up with your crappy jobs that have you spitting out mindless designs, the problem lies with the system that allows so many half ass designers to make it through school and be labeled an Industrial Designers.

 

In fact a lot of the design work we do at the firm I work for comes from companies who have worked with half ass Industrial Designers who don't know a thing about real world product design, and they end up turning to us because we actually know what were doing, but by this point they already have a sour taste in their mouth when it comes to design.

 

So many companies are being burned by costly mistakes made by amateur designers and when your putting up tens of thousands of dollars for tooling in some cases it doesn't take too many screw ups to put them off design all together.

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Guest matt___

Vander: I've got to say, I find your argument kind of confusing. A year ago people were seriously contemplating oil at $200 a barrel. The leaders of the most powerful countries in the world have just signed up to commitments to reduce carbon emissions. Millions of dollars are being invested in electric engines, or hydrogen fuel cell engines, or hybrid engines; not to mention projects like MIT's city car which are totally rethinking the notion of personal transport. And the best you can up with as an example of great industrial design is Hyundai making a new shape for a product that's been around for more than a hundred years. If anything, I'd use that as an argument for why ID is dying, or at least, nothing to be proud of.

 

Then you confuse things even more, by saying that Apple's entire success is built on design. But even if that were true, we're not talking about design in general, we're talking specifically about ID. Are you saying that Apple's entire success is built on it's industrial design? That iTunes and OSX and multi-touch and "Think Different" have nothing to do with it? That's exactly the kind of tunnel vision that Jon Kolko is criticising. What Apple have mastered is the understanding that design is an ecosystem; that ID and UID, graphics and packaging, advertising and branding, portfolio management and future concepting all need to be working together. In fact, Apple is maybe the perfect example of why the IDSA should die, because its vision is simply too small.

 

And if you want to know where this "small vision" leads, what happens when ID is considered in isolation to everything else, one word: Razr.

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Guest csven

Ditto what matt___ said.

 

Additionally, while I've not yet watched Tim Brown's recent TED video and am not a "design thinking" adherent (mostly because I believe it's redundant and prone to abuse), I thought this description of his talk relevant:

 

"Tim Brown says the design profession is preoccupied with creating nifty, fashionable objects -- even as pressing questions like clean water access show it has a bigger role to play. He calls for a shift to local, collaborative, participatory 'design thinking.'"- http://www.ted.com/talks/tim_brown_urges_d..._think_big.html

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IDSA and Industrial Design as a profession never claimed to be the be all and end all of design, we have always worked in collaboration with other professions to develop extraordinary products. Did Industrial Designers develop the hydrogen fuel cells, the lithium ion batteries, the LCDs that we implement into the products? No, so how do you consider these the best examples of Industrial Design? Although technological advances offer new opportunities for designs to emerge, Industrial Design isn't directly responsible for there existence.

 

In all the examples I've listed the Industrial Designer's role and influence is clearly visible given the constraints and limitations under which they have to work. I agree there are probably tons of better examples and Industrial Design isn't the sole reason for their success in any of the cases, but you can't argue that Industrial Designers didn't play a valuable role in their success.

 

you suggest that IDSA's vision is to small but why should IDSA's vision be all encompassing? They teach Industrial Designers to do a little bit everything so that we can work effectively and collaboratively with other professions but at the end of the day we are product designers hired to design great products.

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Guest csven

I've had an interesting exchange with IDSA's new CEO, Clive Roux, over on LinkedIn. While I assume the professionals are already a member of the Industrial Design Group, I suspect most students are not. If you're not, I would suggest joining. For one thing, if you're not registered with LinkedIn and a group member, this link won't help.

 

"Clive Roux Chosen as New IDSA Executive Director" - http://www.linkedin.com/newsArticle?viewDi...4&gid=80335

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