There’s more to design than Starck and stereotypes

As a great admirer of Adrian Shaughnessy – his fantastic book Graphic Design: A User’s Manual is currently sitting on my desk in front of me – I am surprised by his reaction at the collective criticism, including my own, of Philippe Starck’s recent TV show.

In his Private View (DW 5 November) he refers to my recent letter (DW 15 October) and makes assumptions about the type of designer I am,
despite never having seen a TV show about me, which is unworthy of someone of his undoubted intellect.

One thing I have never been accused of is being an identikit designer. I despise focus groups, don’t know what a white board is and have fought against the bullshit that thrives throughout our industry for 30 years. I stand by my criticism of Starck and his show.

However, I could easily use stronger criticism if the show had been about the stereotypical designers Shaughnessy writes about – I despise them even more.

The point is that neither of these polarised views of design contributes anything beneficial to our industry, and the sooner we come to terms with this, the better.

As Shaughnessy’s book states, we designers need empathy. Unlike Starck and the stereotypical designers he mentions, I have applied this
philosophy to all the students and designers I have taught, mentored and worked with for years.

Glenn Taylor, Managing creative director, Stocks Taylor Benson, by e-mail

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