Process won’t change people’s perceptions

I feel compelled to speak up in unequivocal support of everyone involved in Better By Design: the Design Council as commissioner, TV6 as producer, and especially Richard Seymour and Dick Powell as designers and presenters.

The critics are missing the point. The programme is not attempting to show the whole design process. It’s real world stuff, in which the producers pick out the best bits to create the most entertaining 30 minutes for the target audience, who in this case are ABC1s who should be wise enough to know that much of the design work must have occurred off camera.

It’s not surprising that the critics are designers. Maybe it’s sour grapes because they weren’t selected, or maybe it still doesn’t help them explain to their friends what they do or, probably more accurately, don’t do.

We should be standing on top of a building, in Soho not Clerkenwell, shouting our thanks to Seymour and Powell. They are excellent, personable designers and fine communicators. They come across on the programmes as open-minded, highly creative and realistic, and they seem to be blessed with more business acumen than stereotypical designers. Since guilt by association works both ways, this can only help make design more accessible and less enigmatic to the public, and therefore our fee-payers.

The fast-changing business world is putting the traditional business paradigm in danger. Under threat is the treatment of business models as independent entities.

Traditional service companies which built themselves on the provision of a single service – whether they are strategy consultants, creative agencies or technology integrators – must move with the times. Even if vertical integration is not an option for you, the most important business asset will always be human relationships. Better By Design only helps in this regard.

Even if it’s not the exact image you want them to project, Seymour and Powell are nevertheless projecting a highly positive, accessible, informative, less enigmatic and endearing image of design and designers. And that constitutes free help to all consultancies.

Isn’t it more beneficial that this image is projected, as opposed to ensuring that the whole product design and development process is accurately documented, which might educate some of the few, but really bore the many?

Jon Gold

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