This week we visited the permanent exhibition ‘Designers Makers Users’ in High Street Kensington. I thought I explored the intersections of business and design. I also found inspiration for my designed products and services of Bright Idea competition which had been confused me for a long time. The exhibition also was an opportunity for me to discover design from different perspectives: the designer, the maker, and the user. It featured about 1,000 items of contemporary design, from across a wide range of industries. The displayed items basically were everything surround us every single second like monitors we are watching or chairs we are sitting on.
By visiting the exhibition I found that designers shape our lives at every scale by the work they do, from the satellites to the products or services we use every day. They also observe human behaviors a lot and focus on finding the needs or even create the needs of people who might be their clients. Designers usually cooperate with manufacturers, engineers, and other experts to practice their own ideas by creating prototypes.
The exhibition also highlighted a philosophical question: what is “good” design? If the answer is the design could improve our world, there might be some designs could harm it oppositely. Then how to account for the moral responsibilities of the designers and of the people who use their works? In my opinion, there is no purely good or bad design at all because both of the adjectives are too abstract to describe a design precisely. Besides, the concept of design could include lots of features as the function, price, quality, and appearance.
Even though I’m not the person who will buy things by referring to their packages, the reasons to choose one product rather than the other are still too complex to take rationally. Raymond Loewy (1893 – 1986) explained, “Between two products equal in price, function, and quality, the one with the most attractive exterior will win.” I believe most of the users would agree with this phrase because our decisions could be made by the emotional response or the perception of value sometimes. Moreover, our possessions help us define who we are, and who we want to be. Thus, users absolutely have huge power to influence design by their tastes and choices.
Henry Ford (1863 – 1947) said, “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.” This phrase describes the manufactures could complete the tasks by the division of work. Meanwhile, makers could not only produce the materials and draw up manufacturing processes but also satisfy the need, the aspirations, and even the prices of products.
I think makers could not only be the assistance during the designing process but to become the frames of the designs. Because only to make the idea out as a visible prototype could let people truly understand the features of the design.
I think this exhibition tried to abstract all of the displayed items into three perspectives which are the designer, the maker, and the user. On the other side, every single item could be represented from the three perspectives in its own way. As a person who could play three of the roles at the same time, I think I could do the better design by referring every standpoints now.