Business jargon can be used to aid communication with clients

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While I agree to some extent with Peter Hall’s piece on jargon (DW 27 February), I feel that some of his arguments belong only to a small minority of designers and design groups.

I am sure that there are designers and agencies who use jargon to “obfuscate the work that actually goes on…”. Some may even use it to carve an identity for themselves in a relatively new profession.

However, I would hope that the majority of designers are neither that insecure nor shallow. The words they use are not weapons but tools. Communication tools vital for surviving in a business world.

It is not as a need to identify or subvert that this jargon has emerged, it is not even a jargon sprung from the design industry itself. The jargon Mr Hall rails against is management speak, which is the language used in business. If designers have to take this language as their own to make their creative ideas understandable to their clients, then they have fulfilled their primary duties as communicators.

Surely it is a good thing to bring an idea to its target audience in the language with which it feels most comfortable? Especially when the language used is only to communicate the idea to the client, and not to sell the product or service itself.

Selling the idea, and selling the product are two mutually exclusive concepts. In the same way that the letters written down to make a word identifiable are not the word itself, they merely express the idea of the word.

If designers are asked to do a clearly unpalatable job, no amount of creative licence will hide the facts. If we believe we are furthering an unjust or dishonest cause, we should either not do it, or take comfort in the fact that the best of our efforts will not keep the truth of the matter hidden. To place on us a moral responsibility for our clients, and for the consumers choosing to use their products and services is unfair.

To see a language designed to help us to communicate our ideas – or identify with one another – as a shield from our morals is to paint a very bleak picture of designers indeed.

Michael Townshend

Blue Pear Design


Gloucester GL4 3EY

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