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Guest G^e

Designer Existentialism

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Guest G^e

Hello,

 

I’ve recently subscribed to this forum and this is my first post. It is not the lightest way to start but I’m just going to go for it.

 

I feel there is a subject missing amongst all the discussion on this forum which perhaps is less glamorous than fun design talk. It is the subject of doubt in our purpose as designers.

 

I’ve been a professional industrial designer (so they tell me) for more than 12 years. I’m a senior designer for a consultancy and I take charge of a lot of aspect of our project. A lot more than once should.

 

There are a lot of great things I like about industrial design, product design, product development, etc…, you pick what fits, but I’m growing really tired of the industry, its abuse, its lack of trust and beliefs in the power of creativity, its dishonesty, its lack of understanding as to what it really takes to make quality design as if ones just got talent or not. And by the way if he does you can pay him hardly nothing because he’ll do it fast. And if he does not you can pay him hardly anything because he is not worth more. I’m also becoming mentally frustrated by the over-consumption mentality taking the precedent over the human quality of life.

 

I’m extremely good in many areas of my work and by far surpassing my client ability to lead product development but I often find myself depressed as I look at what becomes of my work, to what point it is respected, in the ways it is manipulated, and even from the way the design culture is evaluating itself in its self-righteous award winning ignorant culture like business week design award squandering the talent ability of too many designers through their narrow view of design.

 

I must add that the only way I know to design meaningfully is to put my entire self into what I do and it drains me dry.

So I’ve come to realize that I’m no designer at all, at least in the popular sense of the word. I feel more like a builder of old in clash with its living environment.

 

Sometime I feel like dropping the consultancy I work for and do freelance but I do not have any business skills, or heart for it, and I can smell failure from miles away.

 

Sometime I feel like entirely changing field, still using the skills I have. But where could I start looking for such daring career direction that most will warn me against and could put at too much risk those who depend on me.

I cannot bear designing the way I do any longer as all as become blend, tasteless work. But I cannot see the light to guide me towards a new and better goal.

 

 

So I ask the question. Am I the only one suffering from designer existentialism?

 

Would this place be a good one to discuss the hardship and tribulation we are too often afraid to talk out loud?

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To be honest, I don't think there are enough professionals on this board to give you a fair assessment.

 

From my take after 3+ years in the professional world - most companies simply don't value design. It's very easy for other people to take credit for your successes but place the blame on you when things don't work out.

 

I come from the corporate world, but from what I've seen as a consultant you will always be ultimately left with the "Here is my design, do with it what you will". So whatever bastardization happens after that will be out of your power.

 

It sounds like you may be just suffering from a victim of position. It may be worth considering a change of pace to a different job that gives you more impact over your final results.

 

Or it may be worth changing careers entirely. You may be able to find a lot more mentally rewarding work in something more traditional - furniture making, wood working, etc. Of course jumping ship on a career when you have a family to support isn't always easy.

 

There's no great answer, but if you're sick of the work you can either continue to trudge along till the point where you retire, or you can look for ways to introduce change, whether that is in how you work with your clients, or where you are working.

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How about considering to go into design education? You can use your experience to prepare the students for a tough design career. Each job has its frustrations though, not sure if design has the largest frustrations.

Or perhaps a bit similar to what Cyberdemon suggested, you can develop your own products, can be small, but at least you have more control over it, and you can do what you want to do. Of course you need to find a business partner for that, if you don't have the skills at all. And start doing it next to your current job, if it allows. Or propose it to your company to get support, if you do come up with good product ideas.

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Guest spillai00
Hello,

 

I’ve recently subscribed to this forum and this is my first post. It is not the lightest way to start but I’m just going to go for it.

 

I feel there is a subject missing amongst all the discussion on this forum which perhaps is less glamorous than fun design talk. It is the subject of doubt in our purpose as designers.

 

I’ve been a professional industrial designer (so they tell me) for more than 12 years. I’m a senior designer for a consultancy and I take charge of a lot of aspect of our project. A lot more than once should.

 

There are a lot of great things I like about industrial design, product design, product development, etc…, you pick what fits, but I’m growing really tired of the industry, its abuse, its lack of trust and beliefs in the power of creativity, its dishonesty, its lack of understanding as to what it really takes to make quality design as if ones just got talent or not. And by the way if he does you can pay him hardly nothing because he’ll do it fast. And if he does not you can pay him hardly anything because he is not worth more. I’m also becoming mentally frustrated by the over-consumption mentality taking the precedent over the human quality of life.

 

I’m extremely good in many areas of my work and by far surpassing my client ability to lead product development but I often find myself depressed as I look at what becomes of my work, to what point it is respected, in the ways it is manipulated, and even from the way the design culture is evaluating itself in its self-righteous award winning ignorant culture like business week design award squandering the talent ability of too many designers through their narrow view of design.

 

I must add that the only way I know to design meaningfully is to put my entire self into what I do and it drains me dry.

So I’ve come to realize that I’m no designer at all, at least in the popular sense of the word. I feel more like a builder of old in clash with its living environment.

 

Sometime I feel like dropping the consultancy I work for and do freelance but I do not have any business skills, or heart for it, and I can smell failure from miles away.

 

Sometime I feel like entirely changing field, still using the skills I have. But where could I start looking for such daring career direction that most will warn me against and could put at too much risk those who depend on me.

I cannot bear designing the way I do any longer as all as become blend, tasteless work. But I cannot see the light to guide me towards a new and better goal.

 

 

So I ask the question. Am I the only one suffering from designer existentialism?

 

Would this place be a good one to discuss the hardship and tribulation we are too often afraid to talk out loud?

 

 

i am more from an engineering background where functionality take precedence over form and feel. but i totally relate to what ur saying.

 

Its very frustrating when u cant seem to convey or persuade customers to go towards the realm of innovation....

 

But i hope u dont change professions. Ur there just in case someone actually comes up with a truely genuine design and put all ur backing on it.....

 

... the rest of the corporate world is out to make money....but u and me......we can make history....

 

 

Theres a awe ..interview with the ex-design head of BMW on the home page....he used the word endeavour to describe car design...."unrelenting fight to the end". Well shld i say ..more.....i dont think so .....

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Guest G^e

I realize now that perhaps there are more junior designers and other field professionals on this forum curious to learn about industrial design. That said as far as I’m concerned there is no age rule to professional maturity and some might reach the question sooner than other and that’s just fine with me. I want to learn from the elders as much as from the youngsters.

 

There are some interesting point said here I should think about. However what I thought would be most useful are experiences of other with similar sentiments at times.

 

I was hoping this could evolve in a broader discussion not just about my case thus better helping me out but also possibly helping other readers. I appreciate Spillai00 comments about endeavor. There must be something in the end though which is easy for the ex-design head of BMW to feel there is. We always hear the great stories of those who “made it” but there are so many other stories as powerful of lesser known designer I’d like to hear. Bigger stories and small stories!

 

For example I am for building a better design culture. I’m concerned of all young designers being educated with an old model of what their purpose is for creativity. The act of designing is being merchandized and miss-used by many whom wants to protect their status in the industry. To this day I believe it's a big mistake. And I do not say this out of arrogance, please believe me.

 

I know from experience that Design as a “craft”, philosophically, can be not only truly empowering but most importantly meaningful to the individuals who are involved in the experience, clients as well. And I hope to find a way to unleash what the post industrialism view is holding back. I believe in the principles of design. It’s the industry miss conception I’m struggling with I think... What designers can do is actually so much more, but trust in that belief is desperately lacking.

 

I continue to believe in that people dreams and visions are the answers. Comfort in preconceived post industrialism systems is what’s holding us back, all of us not just designers. But what are the steps to revolution? I personally must first understand what is holding me back even with the knowledge and experience I have acquired…

 

In any event, thank you for your words.

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Guest spillai00

ok ...u have put a lot of though into this revelation..

...seem to me like u have buyers remorse ...u 've kind of become the system that u want to fight ....

 

I started out my carrer in a small tool room...when i mean small i mean i have marketed , designed, drilled ,tapped and commisoned the machine i made..it was awe... i was so intergrate into every phase of my work....

 

But abviously i moved to greener pastures... now i barely see the finished product (this is something i really miss)

 

.. On top of it i wld luv to actually go back to school and take a masters in Product design or industrial design but after a lot of research i figured that i wld have to basically start all over agian...

 

...so i just do my part ..... i am currently saving up to start up a little projects of my own ....not commercially just for myself....

 

...maybe thats something u shld ponder abt...

..what i am trying to say is ...u cant have the cake and eat it.....it just doesnt wrk that way....

 

This reminds me of a speech my Tool design Prof gave us ....."U want to be designer....trust me u dont ...ur asking for sleepless nights, high blood pressure and relentless hard work....and the worst part is once u start getting good at it ... u feel redundant and look into new avanues..."

 

...i never truely got what he said....till NOW....:)

 

TC

Ram

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