What question about design would you like to see answered?

New book Design In Question collects a number of questions about design. What question about design would you like to see answered and why?

Adrian Shaughnessy

‘My question is “what is the future of design?” I’d like the answer to take into account such things as online networks that allow users to generate their own content; widespread economic decline; and climate change. The answer will probably mean that we have to change our definition of design, but my guess is that if we do this and don’t stick to old narrow consumerist definitions, we have reason to think that not only is the future of design good, but that the future of the world is dependent on good design.’

Adrian Shaughnessy, designer, writer and senior tutor at the Royal College of Art

John Spencer

‘Brand awareness, blah, blah, blah, brand commitment, blah, blah, blah, brand dynamics, blah, blah, blah, brand experience, blah, blah, blah, brand essence, blah, blah, blah, brand fingerprint, blah, blah, blah, brand footprint, blah, blah, blah, brand harmonisation, blah, blah, blah, brand loyalty, blah, blah, blah, brand muscle, blah, blah, blah, brand promise, blah, blah, blah, brand reinforcement, blah, blah, blah, brand vision, blah, blah, blah, brand voltage, blah, blah, blah. Branding and design should be about sense-making and human connections. And telling bloody good stories. So why is our industry’s vocabulary contrived, overblown and self-important?’

John Spencer, creative director, Spencer du Bois

Steve Price

‘I was trying to think of something clever, smart or at least vaguely intelligent. But as with all these things for me it is usually far simpler and perhaps (in my case) quite vague. It’s “How do you do that?” I’ve worked for myself for 12 years. In that time I’ve often learned the hard way (not always a bad thing; an experience is only bad if you don’t learn from it). Nothing and no-one prepared me for simple things like invoicing, tax, how do you best present an idea? A pitch? Get new business? Manage clients, good and bad? Schedules, expectations? There was no practical learning in design and whether you are self-employed or not these are crucial to hitting the ground running.’

Steve Price, creative director, Plan-B Studio

Noel Lyons

‘Q: Is too much unnecessary time wasted in design? Designers are natural problem solvers. We’re paid to use our education and skills to solve a problem. A simplified overview, but that’s what we do. Is there too much time wasted on this process though? We seem to have entered a period where designers / agencies are over complicating their methods. Everyday I see new work surrounded by post rationalisation, design jargon and excess fluff and nonsense. Is this time well spent? I urge people to keep things simple and solve problems brilliantly. Surely it doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that?’

Tom Actman, co-founder, Mat Dolphin

Noel Lyons

‘Why do we admire digital design, but love print design? There is a real difference between digital design and print design. I very rarely see examples of digital design and feel anything more than mild curiosity, but I frequently see print design that moves me. Great print design can be hugely affecting, but the very best digital design moves me much much less. And I’m not sure why that is – possibly it’s because print design is tactile (and certainly I feel more emotional engagement with design on iPad than on my computer), but it always leaves me wondering – is there something else, some element of magic that print design has over web design?’

Noel Lyons, partner, Kent Lyons

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  • PHIL AINLEY November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I would like to know the following… “Why do potential clients think they can ask Designers to produce work on the off-chance that they may like it enough to pay for it?” No other industry that I am aware of suffers from this kind of issue.

  • Paul November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    To answer the question of What is the Future of Design I would look at two sub-questions arising from the question What does design depend upon? It depends on what is valued by the customer, and what is possible by the manufacturer. The latter will change radically with the introduction of manufacturing by printing, making the factory defunct for many products, and allowing small run manufacturing of individually designed products in diverse locations. The former will, I hope, increasingly focus on sustainability as well as ease of use, robustness, and aesthetic qualities.

  • Caroline Robinson November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I would like to know why when ‘Design Leaders’ are asked their opinion, they are mostly male! I would like DW to be able to destroy that stereotype.

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