does any one out there ever feel guilty about the history and present day state of design.

are designers scared to take a stand…

scared to go on strike…

stop lying to themselves…

or maybe most iders just know or care to know whats going on in culture…

i said culture not capitalism.

just curious?

Scared to take a stand against what? Sounds like you have a major ax to grind with…something. Care to elaborate what it is that has you so angry?

I’ve certainly encountered my fair share of frustrations with various aspects of the design profession, but I don’t know that any of them have made me so torqued that I was screaming for a revolution.

please excuse for for sounding angry, I’m not angry.

Ive just been cruizing aound this site and it seems that much is talked about but there is little or no substance to any of it.

it seems to all about design dicussions that are tired and of liitle or no importance to any one but designers own language.

I know it is a design web site but Im interested to hear about what other designers work on and think about when there not busy doing there job to pay the mortgage.

augi, I fail to see the logic behind your answer. Instead, it seems you’ve posted an entirely new question.

I think there’s plenty of substance. What’s your take on the ZUNE argument?

How about your opinion on the best product ever designed?

Remember, this is a DESIGN board. There are millions of other boards you can post non design related things on. Plus we have an off-topic board if you actually want to hear what designers think about non-design subjects. I don’t particularly.

The Ipod…?

the Ipod is leaps and bounds ahead of any product in its field, however I would hardly call it the best design ever. The best thing that the Ipod has going for is the red cross version. That is what i mean by substance.

real things that have an effect on the real problems people are faced with.

I guess it is that the topics that are discussed are…

Your right this is a design board, there is much much more to design than the success of an mp3 player however successful it is.

the two topics you pointed out are about the samething, the next best thing
what happens when there is not a next best thing.

maybe Im barking up the wrong tree.

I think that as a designer I would feel guilty creating marketing, products, ads, etc that I Know will end up in a trash heap’ but as long as my idea was clever enough to sell its ok.

maybe I am calling for a revolution, lets talk about it?

The trouble with revolution, is that it never quite pans out the way it was envisioned. Just ask Leon Trotsky…or any commoner who supported the Bolsheviks only to be lucky to survive Stalin’s purges.

You can feel guilty about designing / producing trash if you like. But by that rational, should the farmer feel guilty about producing a product that will only be floating in a sewer by the end of the month? Maybe he should.

I think maybe the broader question you are asking is, “What’s the point?”… now that is a good question!

You’re not barking up the wrong tree, you’re just not broaching your topic very well. You’re being vague and elusive, and it’s not exactly fair to be upset with people for discussing design on a design board.

I’m completely with you that design is more than next-best-thing-products. If what you’re getting at is environmental issues and design for sustainability, there is a section of the forum dedicated to that. Any other topic here. Many political and cultural discussions come up in the General forum, just search. If you don’t find the questions being asked that you think need to be asked, why not start a thread?

As for revolutions, I’m a believer in Bruce Mau’s approach - design forward, these things don’t happen overnight. Use the guilt as a driver to pursue and encourage positive change, not to knock others.

Red Cross iPod? I think you mean the Product RED iPod, which goes to Women and Children affected with AIDS in Africa. (And yes, I agree, it’s a fantastic idea, but has nothing to do with design or the product.) If you want to talk about iPod, talk about it on that thread.

The two threads I posted are NOT EVEN REMOTELY about the same thing.
The iPod thread is about “what is the best designed product of all time.” The ZUNE thread is about “is Microsoft guilty of design plagerism, what do the designers have to say for themselves, and does it have what it takes to win?”

If you think “maybe I am calling for a revolution” then I think you need to get a bit more educated about design (I’m guessing you’re a student?) There is already a revolution going on. On one hand you have Usability, and on the other Sustainability. Neither has to do with designing for landfill. By the way, I design medical devices that save lives. Is that what you’re looking for?

Skyarrow and Canadian ID

thank you both for your points and patients I think I may have spoken hastly after reading a few of the blogs in general design dicussion.

Thank you both for not jumping on me and attacking after what I said in the first post I appreciate what you both had to say about my post i was just curious as to why I don’t see more topics of this nature in general design dicussion.

The Zune thread is the type of guilt I was talking about, Please excuse me for not clearly making my point.

I consider my self more of an entrepeneur envolved in design, than a true industrial designer. Lurking in the distance but playing close attention To design and its periperies.

I feel that designers as cultural authors, have reponsibilty as well as power so when I see an example such as ZUNE I am curious what it takes for those designers to blatently take an allready existing idea, the Ipod, and slightly change its look.

If you were a designer working for Microsoft and challenged with that project how would you handle it differently.

At what point do you think designers will be able make the calls unless there comes a point when they just say no.

I’ve read Mau, Mckoy, Nelson, Krippendorf, Koolhaas, I am educated.

I didn’t set out to Offend anyone, I appologize If i did, I am just curious from professionals in the field what it would take for them to make an executive decission. I am curious when designers in the field feel like they will have power.

Why the designers of ZUNE couldn’t have said, based on morals, ethics, honesty I cant do this as a designer.

But they did it! Should they feel Guilty?

I truly Appreciate both of your Comments and would like to try and continue this discussion in this forum.

I think you’re getting to a point touched upon here on the forums. “true”, “real”, “innovative” and “responsible” design have all come up. And for good reason.

I think you have good points, but when it comes to behemoths like Microsoft, Apple, or any corporation, designers are not the entirety of the endeavor. If you are Bill Gates, and you need to get into the MP3 market ASAP, and you dont have time to completely design a new, sustainable, innovative alternative to the Ipod (which could take years) because time is money, then something like the Zune pops up, which in my opinion is a compromise. Its money, market share, competition, business strategy and design looking for a solution, not only designers that can apply their moral position and refuse to participate in such a project. Would you give up your job at a company like Microsoft just so you’re not part of a future landfill project?

I do agree that responsible design is often overlooked, but there are many forces that (unfortunately) sometimes overlook the moral position of design, manufacturing, advertising, etc. Especially when the main goal is to make profit and grab market share.

I think a lot of these points are utopian, but a good starting point. Until business strategies change, this sort of thing will continue. And I know I focused on the Zune but thats just an example. That is the case of 70% of the stuff you buy at a supermarket, or the mall.

I*m not saying this is a good Idea or that it should be done but maybe just brain candy.

I don’t think designers really reallize how close to eing in controll they really are.

Imagine and I now this is utopian but please, humor me, and imagine ONE WEEK when designers didnt go to work for those corporations.

sure many would lose their jobs So I wouldn’t advise doing this I just saying to imagine all the deadlines all the meating all the development all the progression allt he creativity of those companies frozen.

Again Im NOT saying to do this or that it would be a good idea Im just trying to illustrate the power that designers really possess.

after imagining this is it easier then to think of ways to slightly influence the big decission makers even if it threatens job security, or is stressfull, or god forbid scary.

what does it take to get designers to be pushed far enough to flex their muscles. :laughing:


I think I know what you are talking about. The design revolution concept has been around. The problem is getting the majority of designers to do anything is like herding wild boar… plus it is unnecessary. The power is there already, we have the ability to ensure that our discussions with marketing and engineering our true discussions where compromise and negotiation on all sides happen. It is tempting to just do what they say and not put up a fight, but it can be resisted.

Individuals just need to exercise that ability while minimizing how much they piss off marketing and engineering and sales… don’t forget we need them as much as they need us. Without engineering all we would have is a bunch of 3d renders, and without sales, our work would never make it to the mass market. It is also tempting to become one of those designers that has a reputation for being “difficult”. School didn’t get us ready to be good negotiators. Coming up with the idea and drawing it are the first 15%…

My thing is that a lot of the designers who talk about changing the world or making disruptive product designed polished aluminum nut crackers for a living… what the?

Good discussion though.

Not all revolutions involve killing the Czar and his family. A revolution can be quiet. A revolution can be the change in mindset of a group of people. With that criteria I think you could make a case that the revolution has already happened. Today designers are interested in more than just styling, we are interested in having input over the entire process, and sparking the process itself. that was revolutionary 10 years ago, it is becoming more common today. I hope this is a long term trend.



the idea of a 'revolution" has been around for some time, a long time actually a lot longer than ten years. the problem is is that we had it right so long ago. Just before the “industrial revolution” what we now refer to as sutainibility or green design or eco design was already in place and working quite well.

In current day design we now look at those ideas of revolution as just that “ideas” ideas are very powerful things, however they can only get you so far there comes a time when you must take action. I agree it can be quiet but it can’t be so quiet that no one hears it.

the last two post have good points

as far as us needing them as much as they need us…

at some point along the road to production weather independant or employed by a corporation we will be faced with a decession to make torwards what we believe to be the right decission to make wright or wrong.

I guess I dont see a revolution, more of just a changing of the tides a point in time when designers will look to them selves for the answers and trust that the decissions they make for them selves or for the companies they represent are the honest ones with conscience, and potential.

Yo I do agree that it would be unfortunate to be labled “Difficult” but wouldn’t it be worth it when you know that what your fighting for is the right thing.

Someone once told me that a good designer must be a diplomat i do believe that stongly, at some point though you are going to go head to head opposition and it will be difficult what is wrong with that.

maybe your advocating baby steps?

yo, your right about the change makers less talk more actions, im workin on it!

I think what you should do augi, is convert to Jainism. Here is a taste:

For laypersons, ‘chastity’ means confining sexual experiences to marriage. For monks/nuns, it means complete celibacy. Nonviolence includes being vegetarian and some choose to be vegan. Jains are expected to be non-violent in thought, word and deed, towards humans and every living creature. Jain monks walk barefoot and sweep the ground in front of them to avoid killing any insect. Human life is deemed the highest and it is vital to never harm or upset another.

Many also wear masks to avoid breathing in living creatures and killing them.

It is inherent, as living creatures, that we are going to somehow take advantage of the materials, environment and other creatures around us. The best we can do is make a mutual deal among thieves that equalizes the whole mess, and helps prolong the human game as long as we want.

As designers, we are going to turn beautiful materials into junk. This is inevitable. The best we can hope to do in our careers is limit how much junk we make by maximizing the positive contributions we make: beauty, eliminating unpleasent experiences, creating new pleasent experiences, minimizing production wastes and helping people.

As far as I’m concerned, if you live in an industrialized society and you can not live with that compromise: buy a broom and live like a Jain.

thanks for the offer…

Nice to see a wise a$$ finally join the conversation, it was only a matter of time.

N,ot to catagorize you but I will only use your words, its people like you, close minded, that prolong the arrival of real life design. It is maybe inevitable that you, not we, will turn beautiful materials into junk, its shameful to hear you say that. You have spoken for alot of people in your post I wonder how they feel about that.

If all YOU can Do is what you said “make a mutual deal amongst theives that equalizes the whole mess” then I feel sorry for you.

You shouldn’t speak for WE because you Don’t know who WE is.

I hold you responsible for throwing out negative memes, creating false beliefs that all WE can to is stand back and make deals with the devil.

you couldn’t be more wrong!

Whats wrong with Being a Jain. I’ll buy a broom and sweep bugs like you out of the way, figuratively speaking of course.

Can somebody define “responsible design”?

As I see it, Industrial Design is, essentially, about designing products for mass consumption. I personally define “mass consumption” as something more than one unique device/piece/unit. Otherwise its “art”.

Is it irresponsible for M$ designers to design another Zune? No, its their job. Because if it is irresponsible than every single designer who designs an electronics product, or ANY product that doesn’t fit some Utopian version of “responsible design” is irresponsible. I would go as far as saying the majority of designers are then deemed irresponsible under what I interpret augi’s version of responsible design is.

Throwing the baby out with the bath water, as would be the case of deeming designers irresponsible for designing for a need, is silly. That need being consumer demand.

Consumer demand is not a need.

Are the designers irresponible? yes

Could they stop themselves if they wanted to? probablly not

Are these ideas Utopian? not so much

responsible:having a capacity for moral decisions and therefore being held accountable; capable of rational thought or action

design: you now

you know

having a capacity for moral decisions

Who defines these set of morals in order for me to make decisions as a designer?

Your discussion is on a very slippery slope. As it has been presented so far, I don’t see you asking for anything short of Utopian. Webster definitions of responsibility is far from explanatory of your position.

I would prefer to hear suggestions from you as to what needs to change as opposed to simply stirring the pot with generalities that are inflammatory due to their wildly varying “moral” beliefs.