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Guest csven

Where Are The 2008 Predictions For The Id Profession?

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Okay... Misunderstood what to elaborate on then.

I will try to answer once again - however feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. I do after all not have the same level of real life design experience as you profesionals.

 

I think that one of the problems that ID'ers have is that design is so much. We can not be experts in both material science, marketing, engineering, visualization, representation, prototyping etc. that all are a part of designing. I don't know if you've heard the metaphor before, that great designers are T-shaped people, who knows a bit of everything and then have some area of expertice. I think that in the years to come designers will have an even greater need for a broad understanding of many subjects - mostly because we will work as a kind of facilitators of design development. Being the ones that communicate ideas and values between the different departments of a company (engineers, software developers, economy, marketing etc.)

 

This is perhaps what ID'ers can do better than many others - work with, understand and communicate values. Within the company as well as to the consumers.

 

We already see an ongoing trend that ID-studios are consulted when companies needs to make or redefine a brand or image. Big companies have done so for several years, but also many small companies define their vision, brand, purpose etc. and I think that more designers will find work within this field of design. Something that perhaps usually was up to marketing departments, will also be part of the ID field, just as well as ID is a part of so many other areas of expertice.

 

/tbroen

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Guest csven

fwiw, the reason I chose to go engineering first at university... back in 1981... was because I considered industrial design to be exactly what you're saying it's becoming now. So no surprises here. I've been expecting this for quite a long time now.

 

However, you didn't take the "T" argument for designers and apply it to "sustainability". That's what I'm curious about. What does ID bring to the "sustainability" table in a practical sense. And if IDers are going to branch out more, than in what areas specific to sustainability will the profession need to grow to address this broader trend?

 

Should IDers take chemistry classes?

Should IDers learn farming?

Should IDers learn desalinization?

 

Where should they branch and what should they learn?

 

-

 

Most designers who have entered competition have had to go through the portion of the entry dealing with "How does this design address recycling?" And if anyone here is like me, they've winced because so much of it is bullsh*t. Honestly.

 

Nobody chooses LDPE for it's sustainability characteristics (good or bad). It's cheap, durable material. And because of those characteristics, it's in widespread use. Same goes with a great many materials that are toxic to the environment; many of which IDers actually choose because they look good. For example, I heard a Behar interview where he essentially said he didn't drive a hybrid because they were ugly. Huh? Is beauty more important than the environment? I think for many people - including designers - it is.

 

Besides, most professional designers have run into the problems I've run into: if the business doesn't traditionally use a material (something that might be both sustainable and stylish), they probably don't want to change their operating procedure (and profit margins) until they absolutely have to. They're horizon is generally 3-5 years; not 20-30.

 

Thus, for all the talk and all the wonderful high-end examples provided by well-known designers and one-off designer/artists who get those kinds of gigs, I just don't see the average professional designer getting a chance to put in much beyond their .02 and then living with whatever someone else decides, unless something pretty dramatic changes... and even then I'm not sure it's IDers that will be asked for answers.

 

-

 

So how does any of that change? And how do designers facilitate that change? Short of telling IDers to get dual-degrees like I did, I'm not seeing it. Help me out.

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A lot of questions there... :D

I will try to give my answer to some of them.

 

You asked how the T-shaped designer could be related to sustainability. I think that this all comes down to how you define sustainability. I don't just see sustainability to be related to environmental issues. Sustainability can be related to several issues related to production and design. Such as having a sustainable workflow, material flow, life cycle, material choice, marketing and so on. All of these things are subjects that designers in some way or another deals with, every time they make a product that is to be produced. By having a broad knowledge of so many aspects that are involved in not only making a product, but also how it is marketed and used by the consumers, one of our abilities is to know when to ask other "experts" for help. As mentioned, we can not have expert knowledge of every subject we deal with and in that way we work as facilitators.

 

Perhaps one of the skills designers should be learned in school is Project management. With an industrial designer working as project manager, he would not only be able to influence the initiating design process but also the areas you said that often is handed over to engineers, purchasers etc. in that way designing more cohesive products.

 

Ans kind of leads to what designers ought to learn in school. You for instance mentioned chemistry, farming and desalinization - while this might be very interesting subjects it might not be exactly those subjects that one is taught in school.

 

I believe that in order to be a good designer you don't have to know the chemical structure of LDPE and how it for instance is made. But on the other hand you have to be able to look at properties of materials and understand how these has an impact when designing. Likewise I think that a general knowledge of statics and mechanics are necessary.

Perhaps marketing could also be a good area to explore during the education, as it is also closely related to for instance culture, perception and semiotics that many designers work with anyway.

 

But most importantly I think there should almost be a specific class called "Learning". Learning how to learn. Because however well prepared you might be to do a design job, there will always be some subjects of which you don't know enough. That could for instance be the subjects you mentioned as farming and desalinization - subjects that probably aren't useful for every designer, but is essential when you need to design some kind of cropping machine or an part for a water treatment plant. So we need to learn how to do effective research.

 

(A bit of a sidetrack to the sustainability issue but more to the educational view on the future)

 

Returning to the issue of sustainability, I don't believe that it will be implemented in the entire world during the next few years, because it is a matter of culture. And when large corporations as Mattel still produces cheap products in the east, painted with lead paint, we know that there is a long way to do. But one of the reasons that they have been able to do so is that people have just accepted it. And now, when people says it's not okay - they have to change. I think sustainability will be huge for Industrial Design because of peoples demands. And when the eastern part of the world also gains the knowledge of cancer promoting materials and the environmental impacts of products, they too will begin to demand sustainability.

 

/tbroen

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Guest csven
You asked how the T-shaped designer could be related to sustainability. I think that this all comes down to how you define sustainability. I don't just see sustainability to be related to environmental issues. Sustainability can be related to several issues related to production and design. Such as having a sustainable workflow, material flow, life cycle, material choice, marketing and so on. All of these things are subjects that designers in some way or another deals with, every time they make a product that is to be produced. By having a broad knowledge of so many aspects that are involved in not only making a product, but also how it is marketed and used by the consumers, one of our abilities is to know when to ask other "experts" for help. As mentioned, we can not have expert knowledge of every subject we deal with and in that way we work as facilitators.
All fine and well, except this is nothing new in the industry. The problem of course being that while ID is, has been, and will likely continue to be involved, IDers rarely make the final decisions. In addition, this "broad knowledge" is also acquired by other members of the development team. Engineers, marketers, accountants, and others all learn something about Industrial Design. They may not be "experts", but they gain some knowledge (to the dismay of plenty of IDers). That also holds true for those areas in which IDers are not experts: such as Ergonomics and Consumer Behavior (there are dedicated ergonomics researchers and behavioral anthropologists who are the true experts in those fields). Thus, when decision time comes, ID is once more relegated to being just another voice in these general areas.

 

Consequently, I don't see anything here that's actionable.

 

Perhaps one of the skills designers should be learned in school is Project management. With an industrial designer working as project manager, he would not only be able to influence the initiating design process but also the areas you said that often is handed over to engineers, purchasers etc. in that way designing more cohesive products.
That's a nice hope, but right now I'd have to say I believe it's an unrealistic one.

 

I was trained in project management. I was experienced in project management before I went into ID. But no company for which I worked or applied even thought to tap into that knowledge and experience, because that's not what IDers do (as far as they're concerned). There are certainly some IDers who move into project management. I know one. But those are relatively rare birds in this profession. One is more likely to find designers moving up into design management, which isn't the same thing (and can have it's own very limited constraints at that level).

 

I believe that in order to be a good designer you don't have to know the chemical structure of LDPE and how it for instance is made. But on the other hand you have to be able to look at properties of materials and understand how these has an impact when designing. Likewise I think that a general knowledge of statics and mechanics are necessary.

Perhaps marketing could also be a good area to explore during the education, as it is also closely related to for instance culture, perception and semiotics that many designers work with anyway.

Things already taught in many schools.

 

But most importantly I think there should almost be a specific class called "Learning". Learning how to learn. Because however well prepared you might be to do a design job, there will always be some subjects of which you don't know enough. That could for instance be the subjects you mentioned as farming and desalinization - subjects that probably aren't useful for every designer, but is essential when you need to design some kind of cropping machine or an part for a water treatment plant. So we need to learn how to do effective research.
I know there are many educators who consider the university education in and of itself to be one big "Learning" class; not just for ID, but for everyone, since one should assume that all professions change over time.

 

Returning to the issue of sustainability, I don't believe that it will be implemented in the entire world during the next few years, because it is a matter of culture. And when large corporations as Mattel still produces cheap products in the east, painted with lead paint, we know that there is a long way to do. But one of the reasons that they have been able to do so is that people have just accepted it. And now, when people says it's not okay - they have to change. I think sustainability will be huge for Industrial Design because of peoples demands. And when the eastern part of the world also gains the knowledge of cancer promoting materials and the environmental impacts of products, they too will begin to demand sustainability.
So now we're back to "sustainability" being important. But if, as I pointed out above, what you consider important is already a part of being a professional designer, than how is it meaningful to the profession?

 

Let me take it one step further: If sustainability is truly important to the ID profession, then why not add classes to the design curriculum to impart some significant, relevant expertise to new designers? Why not learn the chemistry of the materials? Why not study cultural anthropology if it gives an IDer an edge during the project development so that they can help foster a culture of sustainability?

 

The profession is already very much a "Jack of all trades, master of none"; or perceived to be (except in areas of form-giving). Why not break ID into areas of expertise that have more meaning to the business world? Engineering does it (Aerospace, Electrical, Civil, aso). Business does it (Accounting, Finance, Marketing, aso). Why not ID? Why stay so general and thus so relatively ineffectual?

 

As an example, we already have subsets to Industrial Design. Some people focus on Transportation, others on Toys, aso. They become legitimate experts in those areas. So why not a specialization for Sustainability? Why not commit if it's truly important to the profession?

 

More importantly, if designers aren't willing to commit, then is sustainability really that important to the profession?

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Let me take it one step further: If sustainability is truly important to the ID profession, then why not add classes to the design curriculum to impart some significant, relevant expertise to new designers? Why not learn the chemistry of the materials? Why not study cultural anthropology if it gives an IDer an edge during the project development so that they can help foster a culture of sustainability?

 

Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to advocate for sustainability in any way. My view is that sustainability is a just as important factor as many other fields of design and is related to so many of the other fields. I find it difficult to see sustainability as a branch of industrialdesign in it self just because of this. Perhaps it should have a part in the curriculum on equal level with cultural analysis, manufacturing techniques and other subjects.

 

This issue of sustainability I see much as a trend in general - not only affecting ID.

 

And then a question:

Why is it that the designer isn't a part of the final decision making? Is it because designers lack the tools to make such decisions or is it the management that don't have enough faith in the designers.

 

And what is the value of having an Industrial Designer? What is it that we can do, that neither the engineers, accountants, material specialists or other plain creative people can do?

 

 

Btw. to everyone following the thread - It would be nice with some more views. With more that 250 visitors to the thread there must be more opinions out there :D

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Guest csven
This issue of sustainability I see much as a trend in general - not only affecting ID.
But that's what I wasn't discussing here. The idea was to stick to predictions for the profession, so that everyone - mostly students - could start to think about those things in preparation.

 

However, there is something here that's worth noting: if ID is very much about trends (and I'm not claiming it is, btw), than how does one separate the trend from the profession? Or, more importantly, how does one prepare professionally for that which has yet to be? This was actually part of my thinking when I posted this topic.

 

And then a question:

Why is it that the designer isn't a part of the final decision making? Is it because designers lack the tools to make such decisions or is it the management that don't have enough faith in the designers.

I believe there are a number of reasons for this, but I think the primary reason is that IDers don't operate in left-brain fashion. So while the rest of the team can show charts, numerical stats, engineering proofs, aso to support their assertions, IDers operate in a less concrete right-brain fashion.

 

So, for example, even though the Marketing people I know are pulling their volume predictions mostly out of thin air, because they're perceived and presented as data (even if it's historical and largely irrelevant, and even if they'll inflate the numbers to ensure the project gets funded and they have a job), they're assertions are considered more meaningful than a Designer's instinctual claims. Just how it goes, unfortunately. And of course, the rest of the team usually has better supporting information.

 

Business is largely a left-brain enterprise, and Industrial Design is still considered a luxury by many companies. For all the talk by people like Nussbaum, not much has truly changed.

 

And what is the value of having an Industrial Designer? What is it that we can do, that neither the engineers, accountants, material specialists or other plain creative people can do?
For most companies, IDers make "pretty" shapes and that's the "value" as far as they're concerned (and quite a few companies just have an artistically inclined CAD person do the ID). Even if college educated, IDers don't always choose which design to produce. More often than not a designer is tasked with providing options and from those the team will often choose. In some consulting firms it's called "design by the pound" or "wallpaper".

 

That, of course, is not necessarily the answer. For some companies, Industrial Design's value is quite a bit more, obviously. And the argument for ID becomes more compelling as products become increasingly commoditized. But when a new left-brain approach shows up (just as it did in the early 90's after a second or third round of Nussbaum predictions about how ID had "won"), the value equation resets and ID gets relegated to secondary status.

 

Btw. to everyone following the thread - It would be nice with some more views. With more that 250 visitors to the thread there must be more opinions out there

Concur. Good conversation, but it would benefit from more input.

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Why is it that the designer isn't a part of the final decision making? Is it because designers lack the tools to make such decisions or is it the management that don't have enough faith in the designers.

I believe there are a number of reasons for this, but I think the primary reason is that IDers don't operate in left-brain fashion. So while the rest of the team can show charts, numerical stats, engineering proofs, aso to support their assertions, IDers operate in a less concrete right-brain fashion.

 

I think this is the traditional image of ID'ers. The artistic creative people that leaves the practical problems to the engineers (extreme situation).

 

Maybe it's just me but I like the left brain part of design (even the charts and statistics), just as much as the right brain part. Maybe the trick is to know both ways, but to be able to chose which part of the brain to work with at certain times in a project. The traditional view of the ID'er has more a reputation of an artistic view even though many designers have a Bachelors or Masters of Science. Perhaps we should be better at marketing ourselves, so that the companies don't just think that the only thing we can do is making pretty shapes. I would say that ID'ers have a bit of an image problem concerning that assumption.

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Guest csven
I think this is the traditional image of ID'ers. The artistic creative people that leaves the practical problems to the engineers (extreme situation). ... Perhaps we should be better at marketing ourselves, so that the companies don't just think that the only thing we can do is making pretty shapes. I would say that ID'ers have a bit of an image problem concerning that assumption.
An image problem that is tough to straighten out. I mentioned Yves Behar earlier. Turns out the Inhabitat blog reposted one of his better interviews on the OLPC (a "sustainable" computer). But the way it comes off, I believe, to many people is that Behar was involved in the development of many of the "sustainable" parts of that project. I don't know, but I don't believe he was involved in the most important "sustainable" contributions.

 

So I asked Inhabitat exactly what "sustainable" contributions he made. And they deleted my question. Heres the link: http://www.inhabitat.com/2008/01/07/video-...he-100-laptop-2 (I posted a second comment telling them I was disappointed in their action, but that will probably also be deleted).

 

Now some people will say that we should let him get credit even if it's undeserved because it reflects well on the ID profession. I disagree. I believe we should be honest so that clients aren't disappointed when they don't get what they expected. In addition, if they were expecting something else, than they didn't understand what ID brings to development in the first place. Heaven forbid we're now seen as sustainability experts as a result of misinformation.

 

That's a problem, imo. A profession will arguably have a more difficult time growing and maturing if it's not clear what it is to start with.

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That's a problem, imo. A profession will arguably have a more difficult time growing and maturing if it's not clear what it is to start with.

 

And this becomes clear if you ask several ID'ers the same question - What is Industrial Design? You will get a great variety of descriptions. Even on my university there isn't any clear definition of what an ID'er is. All professors and lecturers have different opinions.

 

Furthermore there are so many different educations proclaming to graduate designers. Just here in Denmark there are more than 100 schools educating in design (Keep in mind there is only 5 million people in denmark) - none of them have the same names. These are all called Industrial Designers, Integrated Designers, Interaction Designers, Experience Designers, Product Designers and so on. And if you read the description of what they will be able to do when they are graduated, it's all the same.

 

I think this all contributes to the confusion - both among designers as well as among companies. Perhaps we should all just be called Designers, with a speciality in ... (Interaction, Sustainability etc.)

Whether we should be called Industrial Designers, Product Designers or just Designers or engineers is an entirely different discussion.

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Guest csven

You're exactly right. If the profession itself can't get it's act together, than how can we expect anyone outside of it to understand what it is we do. And that of course leads back to the seemingly endless debate over accreditation for the ID profession. And as with defining "designer", that's best left for another time. But for now I wonder if we can't peg some developments for the profession. Or maybe the answer is: "Nothing will change in 2008".

 

-

 

Meanwhile, the Inhabitat blog deleted that second comment.

 

As they're re-posting the Scribemedia video, I assume they get significant traffic from it. And of course traffic = ad money (the new "Green"). So once again, the profession gains a little but arguably loses a lot. At least the Scribemedia people do a good job of explaining things on their site.

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You're exactly right. If the profession itself can't get it's act together, than how can we expect anyone outside of it to understand what it is we do. And that of course leads back to the seemingly endless debate over accreditation for the ID profession. And as with defining "designer", that's best left for another time. But for now I wonder if we can't peg some developments for the profession. Or maybe the answer is: "Nothing will change in 2008".

 

Just to kickstart the predictions. Is it possible that you could highlight some of the most influential developments you have experienced during your time as a designer? Maybe some of the things that we students may take for granted, are new developments for existing professionals!

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Guest csven
Just to kickstart the predictions. Is it possible that you could highlight some of the most influential developments you have experienced during your time as a designer? Maybe some of the things that we students may take for granted, are new developments for existing professionals!

 

While not "new", they're certainly worth noting.

 

Computers/3D software/internet - for those of us who went to design school back when few people even really considered doing industrial design on a computer, where we are today is pretty amazing and still kinda new for some professionals. Back then (~'93) Swivel3D on a Mac was the best we had. That's not nearly as good as Second Life's current toolsets (which are available for free). Students today take 3D tools for granted and tend to use them as a crutch; because they can. They can download them right off the internet. Ten years ago an application like Blender running on a capable machine would set you back $30k-40k, in 1990 valuation (i.e. by today's accounting, that's be like $50k-60k or something). In another ten/twelve years, I don't think designers will necessarily be sitting in front of a machine quietly using a standalone application. Instead I think some will be using 3D tools built into collaborative systems. It'll be as different from what's done today as Pro/E is to Swivel3D. And those who spend all their time worried about learning today's 3D application will probably have a lot in common with the person who cared only about how to use marker on Vellum back in the early 90's.

 

-

 

Accelerated movements/fragmenting markets/nichification - there used to be a time when design styles had some staying power. You could go years and see the same form language being pushed by companies... and not because they had a brand language (e.g. Braun). But starting in the early 90's that changed; things accelerated. Suddenly there were all these new trends: biomorphic, new edge, aso. And they were overlapping in ways that were somehow different than before (e.g. having Memphis and Bauhaus competing during the 80's). Unlike before, these felt temporary. It made everything more frantic, imo. I would read art magazines to try to figure out next trends (and I did relatively well for a while), but even the art world was wondering what the next "big art movement" would be. There hasn't been one to my knowledge. Not like Cubism or New York Style. Not big. Like fashion, things have become much more mixed. Anything goes. Fragmented and intermingled.

 

I was watching some Russian music videos last night and there was one from 2007 that was a perfect example of how anything and everything was getting thrown into the pot. The singer looked like Johnny Depp from Pirates of the Caribbean: heavy mascara, bangles hanging off him and longish hair (dreadlocks, maybe). He was singing a mid-tempo retro-70's/early-80's rock song. Then midway through, the music breaks and a pseudo-"industrial rock" guy starts rapping. Head shaved on the side ala early NIN, and a hip-hop bandana. Then it goes back to the retro-rock, but with break dancers all over the stage. Meanwhile the band can't dance to save their lives. No matter, they shift to Guns 'n Roses' "Paradise City" style where the singer becomes an 80's front man interacting with the adoring audience. The only thing missing was Celine Dion. And who can fault the band? It's like they're seeing Western culture in some kind of cultural Doppler effect; years building up as they take the old stuff (which was slow to migrate) and integrate with the new stuff they can get via the net. And they see it through non-discerning/non-filtering eyes. If you want to see the West over the last 20-30 years, look at Russian media. Fascinating. I can only imagine how they transform that stuff.

 

Now in the West, we seem to be trying to make sense of the mess - which isn't as Doppler-compounded - through nichification. Just look at all the music catagories. Use to be there was just "rock" and then that might get labeled as either "folk/ballad" or "heavy metal". Now you got 101 subcategories, and heaven forbid you call out the wrong one on a YouTube video... the fanboiz will be all over your ass telling you Band X isn't that obscure style but some other equally obscure sub-style ("That's not neumetal emo-goth, that's rapmetal triphop with pornfunk influences! Stupid noob.").

 

And like the art/design/music world, this nichification is seeping into other areas... today. Word is that socnets are slowly moving to private, invite-only access. And corporations are trying to address the niches because television advertising is tanking and they're chasing the audience (good example is Scion, which you'll find in the urban vinyl toy community as well as in the virtual world/gamer communities). I'm not sure what will result, but this seems to be the result of those early changes. This is the sort of thing that I'm surprised more Industrial Designers aren't discussing. Then again, if today's designers are used to this, then I suppose they wouldn't discuss it.

 

-

 

Those are the two that come immediately to mind. Might start with them.

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Guest DGA

well, I posted about my scepticism towards the design profession in another post-

this thread pretty much points it out, too-

 

so, the problems are...

 

-"design" as a whole is struggling to become something...like a science- but there's problems cause we don't know where to start. I myself don't see how a designer will ever become a decision-maker, unless the firm policy is "faithful" enough, or the designer is an economist in disguise ( surprisingly, or not, austria's most recognized designer from "kiska design" who "saved" KTM motorcycles has no design education but studied economy.

this is also a reason why I think for someone who likes making decisions on a larger scale, "design" is not the right education. project management is a fully integrated part of studies of economy, market research and pulling the strings in defining a corporate policy is marketing, marketing, marketing. NO designer. I even fear that the idea of the designer will rather be lost than intensified when engineers extend their profound knowledge of , erm, engineering, with a few principles of form-giving and some softskills. of course, international companies are the place to be for a designer, where there's ultra-specialization.

 

In Europe, or at least from what I know of Germany, designers struggle to invade the b2b-business and its midsized company-contracts. A designer as a consultant. Still, no sense in going out there steppenwolfing on your own when you don't know anybody to design for. Networking comes first, and networks evolve easier within a well-known firm.

 

Sustainability, in my opinion, is nothing for the end user to worry about.

think all the platform-designs, badge-engineering. this already is "sustainable" enough for the firms...the greenhouse-panic is not yet at its climax, and people will find they'll always like something NEW. Also, I'm not a fan of expanding on that bad-conscience-thing for making a customer buy something. Sustainability must never cost extra. Of course, SOME guys out there pay for fair-trade products to feel better, but for it to work on a global scale, the end user mustn't feel the difference, be it the price or the...taste.

 

looking at it from the darkest possible angle:

design is a business that'll end up fragmented into bits of design-awareness in anybody's brain.

from what I've "learned" or rather experienced at university, design will never become a "sincere" science, cos, after all, we can't define for ourselves what it is, ... "it's all around" is the last I've heard, and to be honest, when design is all around, everybody's designer. for a b2c-designer to be successful, it's really about the coincidental compliance of the end users' trends with the designers' ideas of whatever. for an already operating b2b-firm, designers can make some surgical-cosmetical changes. don't really see the "future" in design anymore.

help?

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Guest NEThingfast

I think that ID is going to morph to become almost like a minor in school (no disrespect to designers, but I'm failing with coming up with a better way to put it). So you'd have a degree in something and then have ID as a minor. I went to school for mechanical engineering tech. but personally always focused on how the eningeering related to product design. Over the course of my stay in college, my program made a "bridge" with our schools' ID dept and offered a dual major where you get a BS in MET and a BA in ID. In my opinion that's infinitely useful. You talked about how designers don't have much say in the final product because at a certain point, their ability to add to a discussion of engineering and manufacturing is limited. So the engineers and manufacturing guys take over and make the final decisions. Well what if you as a designer could "stay at the table" and continue to input and talk the engineering/manufacturing game? Even more useful is if you know what the engineering/manufacturing limitations are then you can be a more effeective designer in designing things that take these considerations into account.

 

Lets face it, I've seen some beautiful designs that will only live in the realm of paper because they're EXTREMELY prohibitive to make. Sure there is really no limit to what can be made, but if every piece in a 10,000 part/year production needs it's own lost mold and needs to be hand de-flashed, it'll never happen. Either that, or we as a society need to shift away from the Wal-Mart/cheap paradigm and start looking at quality/specialist/expensive as the new paradigm. Would we be willing to spend 10x more for a product that has all the same function but is more aesthetically appealing?

 

I guess what I'm really trying to get at is that I think design might shift away from a completely separate entity, where a designer draws up ideas and hands them over to someone else to be made. To a more cohesive production cycle, where the designer is also the engineer, or the engineer is also the designer.

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Guest csven

I'll play devil's advocate here:

 

"unless the firm policy is "faithful" enough"

 

But aren't marketing projections really nothing more than guesses based partly on historical data (and what the Buyer's demand)? There's plenty of "faith" out there, just not in ID.

 

"the designer is an economist in disguise"

 

Which means they understand the economy. But the economy is beholden to the whims and desires of people/consumers. Even economists have to struggle during times of recession; even if they predict it (which raises the issue: if they can predict it, then why isn't it avoided?)

 

"surprisingly, or not, austria's most recognized designer from "kiska design" who "saved" KTM motorcycles has no design education but studied economy."

 

And one of the most recognized business people in the world who fought and arguably killed several large appliance manufacturers was an industrial designer. Dyson.

 

"this is also a reason why I think for someone who likes making decisions on a larger scale, "design" is not the right education."

 

And one of the most recognized CEO's studied nothing... or at least not to degree completion... and is widely hailed as a brilliant businessman/marketer/innovator/designer/etc. Steve Jobs.

 

"project management is a fully integrated part of studies of economy, market research and pulling the strings in defining a corporate policy is marketing, marketing, marketing. NO designer."

 

But is the approach correct? I don't know if you've been reading the coverage of the current CES show, but it's not been very good. I'm hearing a lot of complaints of non-innovative copycat products. And they're almost certainly squeezing profits out of razor thin margins since they're all providing more or less the same thing as the next guy. So with all the MBA's out there, why is it that they can't do anything more than just produce crap?

 

"I even fear that the idea of the designer will rather be lost than intensified when engineers extend their profound knowledge of , erm, engineering, with a few principles of form-giving and some softskills."

 

This assumes, however, that the only thing industrial design brings to the table is form-giving. I've never limited the profession to product styling. Is that all they're teaching in school these days? It wasn't like that when I was in school.

 

"of course, international companies are the place to be for a designer, where there's ultra-specialization."

 

Why? Can't a designer "ultra-specialize" outside the corporation? If not, then why not?

 

"Sustainability, in my opinion, is..."

 

But is this an ID issue or a business issue? a cultural issue?

 

looking at it from the darkest possible angle: design is a business that'll end up fragmented into bits of design-awareness in anybody's brain.

 

Not sure I follow. Explain.

 

from what I've "learned" or rather experienced at university, design will never become a "sincere" science

 

Neither will: Marketing, Advertising, etc etc etc. Why does ID need to become a science when most businesses operate on numbers pulled from thin air? And I'm not just talking about the business degree types. I've seen quite a lot of engineers who do the exact same thing. Don't for a second believe that all engineers are equally capable or even interested in trying to provide "sincere" science.

 

"it's all around" is the last I've heard, and to be honest, when design is all around, everybody's designer.

 

Of course everyone's a designer. Everyone's a mathematician, too. That doesn't make the study any less worthy. Everybody's a cook. But that doesn't mean good chefs aren't in demand.

 

for a b2c-designer to be successful, it's really about the coincidental compliance of the end users' trends with the designers' ideas of whatever.

 

You could say Dyson is a b2c designer. His products don't follow trend. Quite the opposite. There are doubtlessly plenty more examples, but arguably few in the broader context, and that seems to me to be a result of a number of practical issues; among them production and distribution... two things that are changing rapidly.

 

for an already operating b2b-firm, designers can make some surgical-cosmetical changes. don't really see the "future" in design anymore.

 

I have a few in mind, but I'll let others provide examples of design input that went beyond "surgical-cosmetical" changes. But to make this claim is to also say that only those operating within certain fields after having gained accreditation by entrenched establishments are qualified and able to be innovators. That seems especially odd considering that never before has the impact of the amateur been more keenly felt. It's not uncommon to read stories in the press of high school students inventing new devices (one that comes to my mind was a wave power device that won the student some prestigious award).

 

Should we accept that only certain people with certain educational degrees can be innovators and allowed to innovate?

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