Now now boys. Let’s not get carried away, or it might come across as this forum IS actually a place of bitchy, non-constructive discussions.
It would help to find out if Deez could justify his strong opinions without always going off on a tangent and directly attacking people he hardly knows. I come from a product design background in Africa (yes Africa!), and it is useful to be able to look at this argument from outside of the American / European mindset.
IMHO, both forums have their strengths and their weaknesses. Core has a long and reputable track record and a good reputation for many of it’s features, not necessarily it’s forums. However the majority of this forum’s users do help out with constructive commentary which has been of much help to many other users. Productdesignforums should be acknowledged for their attempt to create a forum where young designers and students can learn from each other and engage in design discussions. While they will never become as comprehensive as Core, they still service a specific target market and should not be slandered for doing so.
There are decent arguments on both sides of the table of the US vs Europe debate. The US has a very large number of Industrial Designers - approximately 38 000 as of 2004/5. This coupled with the sheer size of the economy, population and willingness to innovate will always be a good catalyst for strong creative thinking resulting in many excellent product designs. This is not just limited to industrial design, but can be found in many other design disciplines. Also, some of the fore-fathers of modern Industrial Design have their roots in America and have strongly helped shape the influence of design throughout the world.
Europe, on the other hand, is also a strong player in the world of design. Many of the world’s greatest designers have eminated from there. Some of the most prolific design movements also had their roots there. When we talk of great furniture design, and great automotive design, the European countries have more trophies and recognition in their cabinet. Another example is the iF Design award - widely regarded as the Oscars of the Design World. Out of the 564 award winners in the Product Design category for 2005, only 20 were from the US. The rest were made up of European and Far-Eastern design consultancies.
Also, if we look outside the US and Europe we find that increased globalisation and hunger for information and knowledge has led to a large increase in the availability of Industrial Design courses in many parts of the World. South Korea and Australia are good examples of countries that are both producing large numbers of qualified designers. South Korea is tiny when compared to the US, but has approximately 36 000 industrial designers. The small island of Japan comes in with a respectable 28 000, followed by the UK and Italy with 20 000 a piece.
Also interesting to note is the percentage of designers per million of the population. If we look at it this way, then Sweden lead the way with 1000 designers per capita, followed by South Korea with 750, Singapore with 681, Italy with 344, UK with 333, Japan with 220, USA with 128 and South Africa with 56. If we look at innovation, the Japanese even boast the highest number of patent applications per year, with roughly 420 000 filed annually.
What I’m trying to get to, is that Design is universal in it’s appeal and in it’s expertise. It is extremely naive to think that out of all the designers in the world, the American’s are the best and the most creative. It is this naivity that has lost the US many friends and partners in the past. The sooner some designers get off their high horses and embrace the help, wisdom, advice and skills of other global designers, the better for the design industry as a whole and the better for the consumer. American product designers are very good, unique and creative. But, so are designers from many other nations. The more that hot shot designers hide behind arrogance and ignorance, the more the actual world of global design will pass them by and leave them anonymous and forgotten.