Many people get a business degree, a small fraction end up owning businesses, most work for other companies as employees. Which of them do you think has ultimate power to steer their destiny, and possibly that of society?
It is like that for industrial designers as well.
If you want to make positive change, let no one be above you, or else they will make whatever decisions they want. And they may not be so ‘positive.’
I know people who started their own companies straight out of high school and were self taught designers and running things before many of my coleagues even graduated. Mark Ecko did that and now has a billion dollar clothing company.
So that’s the bit about intentions. Now for the design specific.
Good design can be incredibly powerful towards ‘good’ ends. How many of your ‘hippie-friends’ have gone through 3 or 4 junk cars that spilled oil and belched smoke while complaining about the ‘establishment’ and the rich and how unenvironmental they are. I can name a handfull. Now look at the people who save up and buy a Porsche, a Macbook, an Aeron chair. How many of those objects end up in a landfill? Not many. Most of those Porsches from the 50’s are still wearing vintage license plates. Those people usually don’t clutter up their lives with 100’s of smaller useless products, while the former group usually lives with tons of junk they have wasted their money on.
So if we could focus on working on less needless products, or those that are likely to be discarded we can do a lot of good. High quality design goes for all scales too. A better planned, compact city could eliminate 80% of the commuting Amaricans do in a year for example.
But ultimately, unless you desire to lead a car company, be a politician, or take some high position where you can make those decisions, just be happy designing and making a living at it- whatever the job- and forget about whether it’s positive. Because, unless you want to honestly fight at those high levels and in that nastiness, you shouldn’t wory about it. The irony is that selfless people seldom want power enough to make the changes they want, and selfish people who want the power rarely care about anybody else.
excellent post !
I agree with you.
I think education is important but it is not the most important ingredient as you are very self motivated.
side note though, a luxury car is very expensive here (at least 4 times of what its cost is in the USA) and probably not worth the slog to get one here because the public transport is very efficient. But I do want my own property and a very nice one too.
the people with the most power has to be a person of integrity and substance on top of the self motivation to succeed. These cannot be taught in college. Those who rely on going in and out of college may not be the material at all. I am begining to scrape off further studying altogether.
I agree that designers need to carve a niche that makes people see why they need us. But often when I look at the glut of graduate that come out, it does spoil the market.
However, i think there are ways to show that we are creative individuals who are capable of doing everything well. Just need to walk out of the circle a little and do something different.