Having recently read the Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, Ive begun to question industrial design as a proffesion quite critically, more specifically in regards to the designers integrity…basically, what is a designer designing for? The fact that we as industrial designers are the creators of artifacts for our society, doesnt that mean that we are (or should be) held responsible implicitly for more than to the client or one paying our bills? That is, we are commiting crimes against our world in a way that we dont even realize. Not only by driving this hyperconumeristic state for our own profit, but by wasting the gifts we were born with to create by creating landfills. I know that most people are too afraid of poverty to really stand up but the way i see it if industrial design is ever going to rise above being a “tool of business,” someone has to. Im am still a student so i have yet to face this question, and of course my search for integrity hasnt even left the drive way and my sense of direction, well, i need GPS. Basically Id like to see what my fellow designers/students are thinknig in regards to this.

Hi Jeez,

Thanks for your post.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the place to critique design integrity. You’ll get eaten alive by shoe and car design wannabes.

Go to for discussions more profound than “errr, duh…i’m gonna be a rock star, dude.” Better yet, talk directly to the people in the industry whom you admire and who are actually thinking and living big, beyond the j.o.b. and the car and the shoe and core.

In the overall governing sense, design is a cycle. If you are concerned about having a good philosophy behind what you do, you should check out this website.

I saw David Oakey and Ray Anderson from InterfaceFLOR speak a few weeks ago. These guys are an inspiration for those of us interested in using our skills for the greater good.

Yes good point. Problem is once you do enter the professional world, you will find that Designers aren’t driving the hyperconsumption; the audience we are designing for is driving the hyperconsumerism. We play to it and do feed it, but unfotunatley due to the "reaities " of ID you do need to make money doing it. Design is an economic activity you do it for someonebesides yourself, and in the world on lower, faster, cheaper; More is always more.

Ayn Rand looked upon Roark as a spout from which spewed forth logical and aesthetic dictats that determined what was good and what was bad for culture and society in general. Unfortunately Roark exists in his own vacuum within the novel, constantly in turmoil over the double contradictions of irrelevance of his position and vision and the assumed consequences and results of his position. Notice there he has no feeling of consequence, no remorse in his decision to destroy the project in a classic display of creative pique, of socio-pathological behavior. The Artiste snubbed. (Some say the Fountainhead was inspired by her realtionship with Frank Lloyd Wright…)

But if you wish to be an Artiste and wrestle with your relevance you needn’t wish for it too hard. Unfortunatley at the professional level your relevance will be questioned constantly. That is until you are really, really needed. then your relevance (and perceived brilliance) will be fully rewarded. Then you have atained “Fountainhood” status. In the brilliant absurdity of it all, how you can mage rejction without becoming a co dependant is greater than your creativity. Sucks doesn’t it?

The Fountainhead in many ways was a reaction to the Bauhaus and Modernism. Ayn Rand was a fervent anti-modernist who loathed the Bauhuas ideal of co-creation and humanistic creation for the good of the people. They were Communists and they preached Sociailism. She belived in the free market and in personalities of principle who ran free market systems. The Elite. Unfortunatly the Hyperconsumerism we tend to rail against is a direct descendent of the same free market cult of personality capitalism Ayn Rand supported.

There is no easy solution for your criticism; and yes it is a valid one. I highly recommend you file the moral lesson you learned from Ayn Rand way back in your cerebral cortex; because there will come a time when your design integrity will be questioned. Then you will have to decide between your lifestyle and unemployment. When you’re single its easy, when you have others you are responsible to and for, its much much harder.

Great answer, we see where “Lousie’s” integrity lies, myopic smear and hyperbolie. Employed yet?

Yeah, “Guest”,

Employed and still poor, not to mention miserable. Come on, don’t be an idiot. Employment doesn’t equate with happiness, success, wealth or relevance, and YOU, of all people should know that, fool.

Can you explain your brilliant sentence: “In the brilliant absurdity of it all, how you can mage rejction without becoming a co dependant is greater than your creativity. Sucks doesn’t it?”

Somehow, I’m too dumb to get it…In the context of your intellectual, impotent spew, it seems like you’re saying that the mere fact of employment-and-the-ability-to-lick-the-market’s-ass, frees you from “co-dependency.” Huh?

What another dumb peacok f.u.c.k.

The common position of most designers to everyone else is similar to the position Roark was in, working for Cameron. There was only one place he wanted to work, only one person who’s work he found good, inspiring, etc., and he went there, took abuse, and eventually got the job he wanted. At the same time, Roark urged Keating to go to Francon’s office, so he could at least be doing some “real work” vs more b.s. school in France.

You might imagine what the majority of Roark’s time in Cameron’s office would have been like - slaving away nightly, doing drawings, understanding little but trying to learn and telling himself he’s in the right place. Eventually he takes over construction of Cameron’s buildings (there are supplemental collections of Rand’s works that include “lost” chapters of the Fountainhead detailing this story).

My point is that there is always something to be learned - and that the concept of integrity isn’t compromised if you don’t know all the sides to an issue. Peter Keating could have taken the same approach Roark did, but chose to play the politics of the office environment, being naturally better and more charismatic at that kind of job.

The landfill argument holds no water. It’s part of the product cycle. If you don’t like that part, work to change it.

Integrity? Morality?

Be careful about throwing around integrity and morality in such self-serving instances.

Ayn Rand also used the Fountainhead to inflict her theory of Objectivism on all of us. Unfortunately, Objectivism has proven itself to be one of the most mindless, selfish, and harmful theories of modern American business. It has allowed an entire class of rich, white businessmen to hide behind the “ends justify the means” while rationalizing it with a supposedly “academic” slant.

Further, Rand used this theory in real life to marry a weak minded man (which character would he be?) and find a man on the side who shared her “Objective” beliefs. The two had an open affair for years that her husband was forced to endure (her lover was also married), and eventually, it destroyed both the husband and the wife who were left on the outside of “Objectivism”.

The Fountainhead is a nice story that makes young desigers feel good about their chosen course of study. But ulitmately, it boils down to little more than destructive “ME-isms” that have little bearing on the way that the world works, real morality and integrity exist, or your all important designs actually get produced.

Plus is makes you seem like a real asshole when you wax Objectivist about the social implications of a toilet brush or your new sneakers.

funny Louise says to go to PDF for more profound discussions and then is the first to drop f-bombs and insult people with 5th grade level comments.

Its a great example of the contradictory life of Ayn Rand. A great author and a decent story teller (she gets a little long winded trying to flex he philosophy degree in the middle of Atlas Shrugged), but she herself had trouble putting the stict black and white ideals of her beliefs into practice.

I found Anthem to be her best work. Ironicly her shortest book, it is also the most pure, and I think explains her concepts the best. Atlas Shrugged is a great concept if a lond read, and We The Living (semi autobiogaphical) is pretty good to. For a good overview of Objectivism, I recomend the Virtue of Shelfishness. You’ll struggle to get through it, but there are some good concepts… if you don’t take it too far and star screwing people over left and right to get what you want.

Hey, man, I don’t have it figured out any more than you do. I read these books as a student as well, and then pranced around on my high horse only getting off when a soap box was around. All I can say is that I figured out the world is a whole lot more complicated than the fictional setting of Roarks. I re-read most of her books about a year ago. There still are some nuggets there. But in the end designers don’t control the output, even the corporations don’t. In a weird way, the public does.

Take TV as an example. We always chafe networks, producers, and advetisers for airing, creating, and supporting mindless TV. Take Nick and Jessica Newleyweds, or any reality show as an example. Yet the ratings from the public are high! If nobody watched these shows, the networks would loose their advertising in a second, and stop paying producers to make them. It’s pretty simple in a free market system. Change CAN happen overnight, if something swings the public, that’s pretty hard to do though.

So couldn’t a producer stand up and say enough of this reality BS, I won’t do it. Sure. And the network will just take a show from another producer. Couldn’t a producer get all the other producers together and get all of them to stop making mindless TV? He could try, but then you end up with some kind of burecratic organization like the group of architects Roark detested.

I think the trick would be if a TV producer snuck intelligent commentary into seemingly mindless TV, influencing the public to broaden their perspective in a subtle way that wansn’t didactic in the way a PBS show is.

Can we do the same?

I think the trick would be if a TV producer snuck intelligent commentary into seemingly mindless TV, influencing the public to broaden their perspective in a subtle way that wansn’t didactic in the way a PBS show is.

funny thing for me is that that seems to be what the Simpsons accomplishes… Ironic?

But Yo’s point about the “Mob Mentality” driving society seems to have more bearing on the reality of our discussion than anything that Rand has put forth.

For a good example, just look at how much effort is expended on these boards at discrediting people with differing viewpoints… and how evil it can get after one person makes the first attack and the mob then jumps on with thier “guest” commentary.

Maybe the lesson for Roark to learn is how to control the mob. Wasn’t that Ellsworth Toohey’s talent?

Ahh, if Ellsworth could have only used his powers for good… I think Anikin had the same trouble. Those skills are learned not by doing but by leaching, well, in most cases anyway.

It’s a good point though. The Simpsons does do it. And like Bugs Bunny, or Star Wars, it can be appreciated on a strict entertainment level, or if you are paying attention, you can get all of the hidden meaning. You can get it in the OC but you need to play the audio in reverse… :wink:

Do you think the general public picks up on those other messages or is it a quiet way of preaching to the choir?

Do you think the general public picks up on those other messages or is it a quiet way of preaching to the choir?

Unfortunately, my own cynicism will prejudice my comments…

Absolutely it’s only preaching to the choir. The part that I find funny is that most of the people who even get the social commentary only see it as an added level of humor… rather than as something to be upset about.

Daily Show
South Park
30 Days

Subversive commentaries in disguise. (Please don’t misread this as my endorsement of them as academic. These shows also run next to reruns of the Blue Collar TV… our point is only that this seems to be the only way to appeal to people any longer.)

Notice or not, as the msgs, in it’s sequence, force flow in-ward through the mind’s time- triggers translations conscious or sub-conscious evokes understanding, influencing, and key binding.

In-put Messages in sequence digress the train of understanding from the destination of the truth, Re-set, shackled, blinded, creation of necessities, Enslaved by greed, Evading visions of a destination, destruction of the cycle, In the strength of evil.


O x O

Channelers of energy.

resistance is futile


landfills, or artifact relocation and storage sites? hmmm…

See what I told you, Jeez. Lucid, eh?

To me, your post was one sentence about Ayn Rand and you used the Fountainhead merely as a point of departure to pose a question that is important to you. The people behind the verbose posts in response to yours, couldn’t particularly read b/t the lines…could only offer their “critical” analyses of Ayn Rand’s writing(s) and, pathetically, her love life…followed by the entertaining vs. academic merits of cartoons…

Talk about MEism.

Posters here have found the holy grail, but it’s not what we lesser beings (who are unemployed, talentless, stupid and naive) may think it is…
and while they can accept that “the world is a whole lot more complicated than the fictional setting of Roarks,” they can’t imagine that it may be a whole lot more complicated and diverse and contradictory and rich and, hark, emotional than the fictional setting of Core and Consumerism.

But again, go to when you actually want to talk about or learn something new, and come to core when the misery of pushing your mouse around for 10 hours a day everyday in order to meet your mortgage and car payments makes you just want to bitch.

That’s what I do.

Life and people are contradictory. No shit sherlock.



stfu and go back to work, you lil shit talker. B for I spank dat @$$

There is no escape


Louise stfu and get back to work. B for I spank dat @$$

There is no escape


“But in the end designers don’t control the output, even the corporations don’t. In a weird way, the public does.”

So designers are not part of “the public”? Who is “the public”? And coorporations are not part of “the public”? Even when corporations have “gone public”?

Don’t hide behind mythological fences.

Spank, me, baby. Spank me. I need it. I want it. :blush:

thats nice Louise, now back to your playpen and build your portfolio, the adults are talking here,…