Don’t blame Starck, it’s the fault of the system

In response to the article by Hugh Pearman (Private View, DW 8 October), I felt compelled to write a letter.

I have been watching the Design for Life show behind clutched hands on face with shouts of abuse to both the designers and Philippe Starck. I agree with almost all of Pearman’s observations.

The brief set by Starck a couple of weeks ago was like giving an artist a blank canvas with no paints. He was vague and unclear on what the deliverables were, which admittedly can be similar in real life. As a result, all of the designers struggled to get to grips with the project and failed miserably – so much so that no one got fired and instead all survived for another week to develop their ideas.

But this is not the client’s – in this case Starck’s – fault. It is the designers’ fault for not pushing him for clarity.

I agree the programme is not a great reflection on the process of design. Starck provides us with yet another Simon Cowell-style character, with his own charisma dwarfing the show’s potential intent. What it has done is to provide clear proof that the education process in this subject (and in graphic design, particularly) is failing. Most of the designers in the show have very little or no industry experience whatsoever, nor do they appear to have any idea of how to tackle a project or brief. Their presentations, although clearly edited for TV, were appalling.

These are simple things that could easily be tackled to help design graduates understand the practical process of projects as well as basic communication skills.

I have run workshops with design students in the UK and overseas, and I often try to allot some time to the ‘unsexy’ bits of design.

I am constantly amazed at how even the most basic of communication skills are lacking. I don’t blame the BBC, or Starck, or the designers appearing. I think the education system that produced them should face their own Starck reality and change, asap.
Steve Price, Plan B Studio, by e-mail

Latest articles