What's up with Design Week?

I may be entering the curmudgeon stage o my life, but what’s up with “National Design Week”? I never heard of it until I saw an ad for it in Sunday’s NY Times: “Free Design All Week” sponsored by Target and the Cooper-Hewitt. You’d think that an industrial designer like me with feet in graphic design and architecture would know about it in advance; that I’d be involved in all the shows, tours, parties and symposiums running all across the country!

“Design Weeks” and “International Design Centers” are really just isolated events. I was just in Istanbul for IDW (Istanbul Design Week). I was interviewed by the fashion design press and saw the Mayor visit the cool venue on a bridge. They even held a seminar about “Design Weeks” where I proposed that we line them all up into a “Design Year” that sweeps around the globe!

There are two things that bother me about the Smithsonian’s “National Design Week” – one is that “National Design Week” seems to be just some hyperbole to spin their design award. The other thing is that it’s not really national (the IDSA is holding their national conference in San Francisco next week too and could have leveraged the “National” designation if they’d known).

The thing is that a “Design Week” is a great way to focusing national attention on design – but like a war (as Bush has shown) you need to mobilize the country to win! I hope this is just a warm up season.