Design Currency: Icograda Design Week In Vancouver is wrapping up today. It has been a stimulating infusion of ideas about the currency of design with all that entails — its meaning, its value and its influence in the world today.
I just read the well-written summary of Design Week in Vancouver, by the ever articulate Isabelle Swiderski:
“…according to Collins, it may be time to embrace mystery once again and tap into the true creativity we possess and have been desperately trying to quell for fear of our disapproving business counterparts.” Read more….
We subsequently had a discussion in the office this morning about the world of design and the world of business and the seeming antipathy between them. The two would seem to need each other, but business remains highly suspicious of design at worst, and patronizingly indulgent of it at best. The business world continues to speak the name of design pejoratively, seeing designers as the fixer-uppers that swing in after the heavy lifting has been done by the “business thinkers”. It was interesting to note that, Helen Walters’ (editor of innovation and design at Bloomberg/ BusinessWeek) keynote address surrounded this very issue:
I’ve seen firsthand as executives who should know better dismiss design as styling, or as an indulgence that’s somehow unrelated to the bottom line. And I’ve listened to designers who should know better bemoan the fact that another client hasn’t understood them or that once again their genius has been diluted or ignored. Read more
Many communication designers now have some 4-8 years (or more) of university training, often with complementary degrees in psychology, sociology, business and leadership, often far surpassing that of their clients. We have been taught to analyze problems, reframe them and solve them in ways that traditional business training has not been able to master. Hence the creation of places like d.school at Stanford. We have fought for many years for the coveted “seat at the table” in the corporate world, but for most it has been elusive.
Enter the idea that perhaps we were better off when we intimidated with our “artistic mystery” and could wave our arms in creative fits of pique and demand exorbitant amounts of money as compensation for having to deal with block-headed clients. We might have been considered flaky, but at least we were scary. Personally, I’ve never really been able to pull off that sort of theatre, but perhaps I can learn?
What do you think?