The Pervasiveness of Design

Something that I have been thinking about recently is the amount of things in the world that are conciously designed and created by man. In your own room there may be hundreds of objects, and each of those will have been designed by at least one person. In essence, you're inviting the work of potentially thousands of people into your living space and whether conciously or not, you're using their work for day-to-day living.

I think that this concept is amazing! At the beginnings of mankind, objects of which you owned would have been made by you or an immediate relation. Later on, local artisans and craftsmen created tools and objects for day-to-day life. With the advent of the industrial revolution objects suddenly were designed and created in places far from you by people that you would have never met. This is both a positive and a negative in my opinion. On a vastly positive scale the offloading of specialist design onto people with more skill and away from the point of manufacture, in theory, should create more useful objects that fulfil the aims of that object. This means that overall, people have better possesions and thus a better standard of living.

However, the disconnect between artisan and consumer has lead to a kind of dishonesty and ultimately a breakdown of what the consumer actually wants and needs. I feel that this has lead to a world where the artisan has convinced himself that the consumer wants the cheapest product possible, regardless of quality. And that, the consumer has convinced themselves of the same. Perhaps this is due to the culture of mass production, however it is evidenced that objects that were mass produced (but perhaps not to the same scale as the contemporary) have quality.

Due to the gap from artisan to consumer objects have dropped in quality. There's no responsibility felt to make objects last as there's no one who's going to them and tell them that their objects are broken or unwieldy. More and more, objects are designed by comittee making it even more faceless. The iPhone has no one designer responsible for even each part. Apple is a faceless corporation that when the objects that they churn out fail, people get angry and the company instead of any one person who made it. Whilst anger shouldn't be the solution to this problem, blame is important for when people do make mistakes so that in the design process they can be mitigated before they happen.

Unfortunately the designer doesn't always get to choose the environment in which things are placed. This leads to unintended design. This exists as the twisted pathways we must follow to get to our location, the interference of the plug next to the one we need to plug in. This should ideally be minimised by the designer, so that we don't even notice when the unintended design occurs. However this is unavoidable.

Ultimately design is a necessary part of living. and a lot of things in life are determined by the interaction with it. This means that we are affected by the desicions, however small, that some person somewhere has made. Ultimately the acceptance of design in the acceptance of people personal ideologies into your life in a way that whilst small still cumulatively affects you.

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