I am writing in response to Lee Sillitoe’s letter (DW 9 April) concerning experience and creativity.
There are dangerous pronouncements here which could harm the aspirations of young designers, as well as adversely affect the studies of our design students.
Creativity is fed by your environment, and the output is dependent upon resourcefulness, stamina, and strength of will. Good education should help stimulate creativity, as well as prepare the student for life ahead.
This preparation should make the student realise that every job, client and context makes up the total “working” environment which in itself continues to feed the creative juices, just as much as sitting on a sand dune looking out to sea can (or whatever turns you on).
The challenge of every job is to ensure that those wonderful ideas gain support and recognition, answer the problems given, and can be built within the budget. (It’s called design management.)
Job constraints,whether they be nasty political personalities, commercial exploiters, or poor workmanship, all add up to being part of life’s rich pattern, and demand appropriate battle skills from the designer. They can equally be inspirational to the problem solving process.
So let us not go down the tired old route of “experience bashing” as a threat to stifling creativity. I can assure Sillitoe that Dick Powell’s design practice [Seymour Powell] has developed a reputation for clarity of vision, as well as producing work that challenges the norm and questions the status quo.
Such designers have won the boardroom battles as well as producing work of quality. But, unfortunately these designers are in short supply, which is born out by the public taste for crap products, as well as the cultural dumbing down of society exemplified by the appalling standards of our American-influenced Sky TV.
Those submissive designers who work within such a climate may be the victims that Sillitoe refers to. All I can say to those designers is: come back to college, and we will recharge your batteries.
Head of Interior Design BSc course
University of Glamorgan
Pontypridd CF37 1DL