Kanye West calling on designers.

So Kanye West went on a twitter rant the other day announcing that he will be opening up a new design firm, DONDA. You can apply via contactDONDA@gmail.com

‘Ye: “DONDA is a design company which will galvanize amazing thinkers and put them in a creative space to bounce there dreams and ideas… I want to put creatives in a room together with like minds that are all waaaay doper than me …To dream of, create, advertise and produce products driven equally by emotional want and utilitarian need… To marry our wants and needs.”


Is Kanye poised to become the next IDEO or Paul Jr?

I was just reading on the homepage about West calling on designers to join his new design firm. I am so tired of these jack offs degrading our industries. First Paul Jr, then Will.I.am, now Kanye!! Really???

I grab the quote below. I don’t even know how to respond this nonsense. The quote makes sense if written by someone that understands how to effect the world though design.

“We can collectively effect the world trough [sic] design. We need to pick up where steve jobs left off.”

Done withe my bitch, now I have a real question. How do all of you feel about this celebrity elevation of “design”? I am very conflicted on this. On one hand it is great to see design in the spotlight, but it also makes a mockery of our livelihood.


It’s extremely degrading.
-It just leads people down the path that one man is responsible for the ‘design’
-Detracts from what design really is and perpetuates this garbage media inspired idea of what they think it is

It’s all good. I just made a new playlist on iTunes. I’m a Musician now.

There are probably more real designers (actually studied design) doing worse to our profession than there are celebs, so I think there are more things to be worried about. I was at Home Depot the other day looking for some things to sub into my loft before I sell it and all I could do was walk down the aisles (literally) saying “ugly, ugly, ugly…”. Sure lots of stuff is off the shelf from China, but lots I’d image someone actually designs who has had a formal design education.

Same goes for probably 90% of all things designed by designers, sorry to say. Not sure exactly how this relates to Yeezy, and of course I don’t consider him a designer (editor/producer maybe), but I think collectively designers are their own worst enemy given the title Designer (or IDer to be more specific) isn’t regulated and schools churn out tons of designers with varying skills…

(Steps off my soapbox).


PS. Don’t even start me on Kayne’s or other’s sneaker “designs”…


this whole thread put a smile on my face :slight_smile:

I had the exact same reaction when I read the article. Not surprisingly he seems to not really call out industrial designers specifically, maybe that’s because he actually has no clue what all goes into design…

I was just thinking the other day, CES is coming up soon and I can’t wait to see what Lady Gaga came up with this year for Polaroid. What’s that? Nothing? Oh. What a shame.

I think it hurts and helps at the same time. It does seem like using celebrity to become a designer cheapens what we all do, but I do agree with Richard. There’s a ton of garbage out there that someone designs.

Glad I can bring enjoyment. I also noticed that there was no mention of ID and thought the same thing.

I totally agree. I am really bothered by this. Not that you brought it up as I struggle with the thought. I have to admit that sometimes I think of this when I am pumping out injection molded novelties for our seasonal business. They have retention value and are designed for collection and play, but I wonder if they just go in the trash? It is something I struggle with as they are cheap and cheerful novelties and not deep meaningful design.


Here is the unofficial office promo video

Here is the unofficial DONDA promo video

Isn’t this an issue throughout society, not just ID. There is far too much emphasis on celebrity. Donda just sounds like a corporate band aid. The Kanye’s and Bono’s of this world just get in the way. Their nonsensical child-like mumblings grab all the attentions away from experts who know what they are talking about. ie Sting. Why do people listen to him? He is an idiot.

I think its fun and a bit ironic that most people want the superstars jobs more than anything, and the superstars want ours.

I find it hard to believe that Gerry McGovern, “Land Rover and Range Rover Design Director” was responsible for hiring V Beckham.

She does know something about body work and lift kits though. :0

I’m with Richard here…

I don’t really have my thoughts together on this one, but I’ve never really been offended by the idea of celebrity designer. I consider both Wil.I.am and Gaga to be inspiring creatives; maybe these companies really could use some of their ideas.

I once listened to an interview with Gaga in which she was talking about how her and Lady Starlight started their careers in NYC’s Lower East side. Gaga talked about how there were so many clubs, bars, performers, and super talented musicians. Her and Starlight were brainstorming about how to stand out. They did their next performance in bikinis in the middle of winter. The bar filled up, and people began gathering outside. Guys loved them. Girls hated them. Everyone was intrigued. Isn’t that innovation? Simple problem solving? Don’t we all spend hours thinking about the way we craft our own careers? Don’t we all wish our message was heard by as many people as Wil.I.am, Gaga, or Kanye. They’ve figured out how to be heard. It’s interesting.

At my last review, I was asked who I was most inspired by in the past year. I answered Kanye. He had just released a new FREE track each Friday as a part of Good Music Friday’s leading up to the release of “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” paired up with Jay-Z for “Watch the Throne,” and had announced his new fashion label. Now, I’m a fashion critic myself, and I heard reviews weren’t the best, but he’s trying. It inspired me to step out of my comfort zone and take a screenprinting course. I started giving the prints I made away for free. It put a few smiles on the faces of my co-workers and friends.

I guess it’s easy to criticize the idea of the celebrity designer, but it’s not going away. It’s probably a bit more productive to try to learn something from them. Behind all the noise there are some really amazing lessons to be learned.


In Paul Arden’s “It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be,” Arden 18th page starts with a bold headlining quote from Victoria Beckham.

“I want to be as famous as Persil Automatic.”

Arden goes on to write.

As a teenager, Victoria Beckham’s ambition was not just to be better than her mates or even be a famous singer but to become a world brand.
She not only dreamed about it, but she wanted it enough to go about getting it. That in itself makes her different than most of us.
It’s not how good she was that mattered, it’s how good she wanted to be.
What is interesting in her quote is that she didn’t compare herself with George Michael or Mariah Carey, rather she saw the fame of Persil Automatic as her yardstick.
Laugh at it as you may, it’s this highly original imagination that got her where she is today.

Mr. Arden footnotes Persil Automatic is one of the UK’s leading detergents. I’ve read the book through a few times, and it was this story that has stuck with me most. I really love that last sentence from his excerpt.


Shame they have nothing to say

I think that’s right - there is a lot of publicity around the initial intro of the celebrities as “creative directors” but very little follow-through, at least from what I can see. Its almost like the “collabo/mashup/appointment” is the whole message; work or results are secondary or not important at all.

I don’t think this subject is too far off from what we’re doing already. Most of the clients I design for aren’t designers as well, they’re asking for things no different from what Kanye wants in the end

Imma let you finish, but DONDA is gonna be the best design company of all time! Of all time! :laughing:

Can’t believe that took 19 posts to get to.

Me too. I couldn’t resist.

On topic. I think that this is a side effect that we need to deal with as design becomes more and more prominent in the business world. It’s good that more and more people are seeing the importance of design, but we end up with people hopping on the band wagon and when they happen to be a music legend I think people are happy to let them on, whether they are any good at it or not. I guess we will just have to wait and see if anything good comes out DONDA, but based on the records all of the recent musicians becoming creative directors, I wouldn’t bet on it.