In the week of the design challenge, on The Apprentice episode two, I couldn’t have agreed more with Jack Stark’s letter when he says, ‘I wish there had been a designer taking part’.
Watching the show, I was so ashamed of what was revealed about the state of product design that I wanted to crawl under a stone.
The sad truth is that in a product design challenge, two product design graduates were not only on the losing team, but, in an unprecedented move, Sir Alan Sugar fired them both. What message does this send out about the product design profession? Of course the brief was scanty, of course Sugar focused on sales. It’s the same every week, whatever the challenge. There was no excuse for the diabolical lack of analytical skills, common sense and, above all, creativity from product design graduates.
Stark’s right, there were no designers taking part. The Apprentice highlighted that it takes a lot more than a degree to make a good designer. Please, design educators, make courses truly modular and teach alternative skills to people who can’t make it. Above all, let’s be truthful about the title of degrees. For the sake of the product design profession, people who can’t design for toffee should not graduate in product design.
Alistair Williamson, Managing director, Lucid Product Design, Manchester M21 9XW