Design education debate has much wider implications

I read the story on your website relating to the Royal Society of Art’s call for a change in design education (www.designweek. co.uk, 25 June). I think this is a political concern, and can even be reduced to a left vs right debate.

Everyone has needs and desires. A designer’s job is to respond to them, create them, whatever – that’s a different debate. What is being addressed here is how the designer does this. It can be a communal service or facility that the individual uses (no investment, and you pay for the service provided), or it can be a product that the individual buys, uses and disposes of (classic consumption).

The problem is that the value of a product plunges as soon as it is purchased and the individual is left with nothing. This is actually quite comparable to using a service but you create waste on the way.

If you compare this to property, it is the same scenario. You rent – you get a service and you pay for it. You buy – you invest, you get this service, and, if all goes well, you sell and get your original investment back (you get a free service out of it).

So service design can be a solution for a capital-less world (which is very contemporary, seeing what has happened to the economy), but don’t forget that since the start of humanity, the object is what separates us from animals. And to create those objects is the role of the designer.

I think that undergraduate degrees should focus on technique, skills, practice, creative process and so on. Then, postgraduate courses should specialise in a specific area, such as environmental design, interaction design, service design, industrial design, vestimentary design and transportation design.

I also think design studies are too short in the UK and everyone should study for five years, as they do in the rest of Europe. Design is a difficult responsibility, and young designers are too numerous and unqualified at the same time.
Cedric Blanc, by e-mail

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