Design is all about making things better

I’ve been following your definition of design with some interest (News Analysis, DW 2 September). To me, it is very simple – design is about making things better.

And with all the traditional barriers between commercial creative disciplines breaking down, it remains the easy differentiation between design and advertising.

Advertising is about doing whatever it takes to sell stuff. Design is about making things better first, in the belief that when thatis put in a commercial context, it will naturally help sell stuff. And if there was any debate asto the value of this, you need only mention one word – Apple.

Apple didn’t have the first touchscreen phones, the first GPS, and there have always been more powerful, cheaper alternatives to Apple products. What it has done brilliantly is design – making things better.

And doing this has helped it go from a niche player to the biggest computer company in the world, with an almost fanatical fan base.

It’s also about having a client. Design without a client is fine art – which is very worthy in its own right, but is not design.

It’s also about creating a new vision (literally how people see things), and therefore it is one of the best and most powerful ways of achieving anything. People know this deep down and are attracted to it naturally – thus the great emphasis we place as a culture on visionary leaders, for example.

Good clients will know this, too – as they will appreciate the power of a new vision.

They will also know that a new vision that is positive – that is, in harmony with a natural human order – is even more powerful, because it taps into millions, no, billions of people’s natural desire and need for positive change.

Alastair Reid, Managing director, Red Design, by e-mail

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