According to Oxford dictionary, ‘Design is the arrangement of the features of an artifact, as produced from following a plan or drawing’. This is the Victorian definition of design, a definition which was fueled by industrial revolution, mass consumerism, use and throw attitude and disregard for nature.
‘Designer is a person who plans the look or workings of something prior to it being made, by preparing drawings or plans’. Designers were the few creative elite who were entrusted with the job of creation. Designers created want for objects which were not needed. A lot was being made without any thought for its existence. Designers were playing god.
Machines were constantly being improved. Abacus gave way to mechanical calculators, which in turn gave way to electronic calculators and finally arrived the computers. Initial computers were huge and humans had to be trained to find ways to interact with them. Within the realms of Human Computer Interaction (HCI), sprouted human centered design, a widely practiced design philosophy rooted in the idea that users must take center-stage in the design of any system. Users, designers and technical practitioners work together to articulate the wants, needs and limitations of the user and create a system that addresses these elements.
Design was morphing, rather than just creating a want, it was creating universal products, services and systems which were human centered. Advancement in HCI and HCD lead to the infiltration of digital devices in our lives. Alongside came the next big revolution, The Internet.
Internet connected the entire world; it shortened the physical dimensions of
our world. It changed the very core of communication and sharing. Internet provided new tools for creation of knowledge, information, technology and skill sharing. For the first time in human history any creative person could become a creator. Internet empowered people to give form to their ideas and then disseminate them across the world. Design is becoming more democratic, a more bottom-up approach.
Any new tool comes with its pros and cons. Technology and design has shrunk the physical dimension of our world, but at the same time it has broadened the physical disconnect among humans and nature. We’ll have to find a middle ground before one side over weighs the other. Technology and design has to transform into a platform for bringing the entire planet together.
Some of the iconic Industrial Design products of the 20th and 21st Century.
How will design, technology and designers evolve?
3D printed prosthetic hand. Is this the way design evolves? Making use of design, technology into providing solution to solve problems which are not affecting the masses or will it be continuation of thoughtless mass production or an hybrid human centric democratic open design which aims to improve the quality of life of masses.
This is one of the question I have been trying to explore for the past one years. There is no right or wrong approach to it. One has to look deep within themselves and ask what sort of world do they want to part of?