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Kenneth Grange’s call for more designers to make a stand in favour of quality design has set the design world chattering. Should designers do more to eradicate mediocrity in design, even if it means turning down client work?

Kenneth Grange’s call for designers to make a stand in favour of quality design is stating the bloody obvious – what are we in business for, if not to enhance the quality of our profession? We eliminate mediocrity by recognising that the design business has a massive responsibility to help even the most doubting of clients recognise that great design is the fastest way to enhance profitability. By turning clients down we put ourselves on an elitist pedestal that encourages mediocrity because we are too precious to assist clients that really need our help. For God’s sake, fellow designers – let’s grow up.
Michael Peters, Founder, Michael Peters and Partners

In short, yes – and not least because producing rubbish for a short-sighted client is soul-destroying. But we have a responsibility to control our passion for creating and communicating. That’s the real challenge – a great creative project, a great client, but more stuff? It is much more difficult to turn down that design opportunity, that potential award-winner. We don’t do it, but we can make sure the design isn’t mediocre.
Frances Jackson, Creative director, OPX

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Kenneth Grange’s point was that the purity of the London Underground turnstile had been ruined by inappropriate advertising additions and he’s right, a better solution was possible. Today I walked through a remarkably restrained King’s Cross, a smart St Pancras and the most tasteful advertising hoarding ever – the National Theatre. Clearly, design can be added to without intrusion. So no, we shouldn’t turn away ‘debatable’ work – the fact that we understand the issue provides us with the capacity to do something better.
David Worthington, Chairman, Design Division, Media Square

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As I mentioned at Meeting of Minds, I think our culture has a fairly low expectation of design. We as designers must continually engage in the battle against mediocrity. This doesn’t have to be at the expense of client relationships. Designers can guide and open eyes. A trusting client/designer relationship can move mountains. Designers not fighting to elevate our culture should do something else.
Harry Pearce, Partner, Pentagram Design

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