It’s time to attach value to the word ‘designer’

I was interested in the discussion raised (Comment, DW 22 September) about quite where a designer fits in this world. Are we going through a golden age of design, as Julia Peyton-Jones suggests, or, to quote Daniel Weil, are we part of an industry and not a profession, moreover one that suffers from insecurity and a lack of potency? Well, yes, both views are right from where I’m sitting.

In a world where there is continuous consumption of everything anyone can dig up and turn into a commodity, new ideas have become an increasingly valuable asset. We have all known this for ages but, since the business world cottoned on, design has had more worth.

Unfortunately for the design profession, all this has happened during the same decade or two that has seen marketers grapple with exploiting our profession by calling everything under the sun ‘designer’. I saw a TV ad for a sofa the other night that mentioned ‘us’ four times in 30 seconds.

I once told someone I was a designer and they asked, ‘Jeans?’ because that was the industry where they had most seen my profession exploited (it was the 1980s).

As to what we do, we should start by trademarking our name and use it only sparingly, as is always the case with anything valuable, and we should double our fees – money talks!

Adam White, Director, Factory Design, London W6

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