When I meet someone new, the first thing they ask me is, what am I studying? Product design, I say. But that isn’t a good enough description – they look puzzled, and some time later they make the point to ask me about it again because they are actually intrigued about what it is.
If they remember ten years back, I say ‘like those guys on TV (Richard and Dick) who designed toilets and bras’. And most people say, ‘Oh, yeah’.
So, why do we now have Saira Khan, business people on The Apprentice and other non-designers telling us how to design? If we are to value good design as a society, let alone be aware of how it is achieved and the power it has to make lives better, we must be represented in the mainstream media.
It can be interesting, it is relevant to people and people do want to know more. We have lots of charismatic leaders in design who could do just a small part to raise the profile of the industry and of themselves to the public and potential clients. Someone needs to step forward.
Robert Maslin, Student, Royal College of Art, by e-mail