Electricians are pretty important as well, you know, since I’m on the internet right now.
This quote got me thinking about something that has been on my mind for some time now and that is how I would explain to someone without any prior knowledge of design, how important it is and what designers do in terms of helping society.
I have a very good friend who is about to obtain her masters degree in environmental engineering. Now, when she’s formulating ideas to help provide clean drinking water, she’s clearly do society a favor. But, can that stack up to a designer in front of a computer deciding on type and manipulating the form or a project?
Well, it’s not even apples and oranges. It’s pears and asparagus. They’re so vastly different that to try and compare the impact each has on people is utterly ridiculous. An engineer will never effect people the way a designer does and a designer will certainly never effect people the way an engineer does. However, they both effect people.
I’ve always felt designers have the responsibility to deliver important messages to the masses that they need to know and must know. We don’t do the research on how to obtain the information, but we do the research on how to make sure the information is put to good use and clearly understood by everyone that needs to know about it.
If a designer never had anything to convey, deliver or spread, they would simply be an artist. I’m not even going to attempt to go down that road (art vs design), although I will one day. For now, I just want to make the distinction of the role the designer plays in society. The original idea is not always going to be ours, but the means of how it’s transfered most likely will be.
You can’t write a letter without paper and you can’t spread a message on a large scale without a designer of some kind stepping in at some point and doing their job. They do theirs because other people have done theirs first, but if there wasn’t someone to do the second job, the first job wouldn’t be done.
There is no point to distinguish if someone is more important than the other, because it’s just ridiculous. Brody said it best in terms of designers by stating “we take invisible ideas and make them tangible”, because it’s precisely what we do. There is more than that along the way, such as problem solving, but as a whole, we have to take something that isn’t in front of you and put it there. Or, we have to take something that is in front of you and turn it into something everyone can clearly understand.
It’s pretty fun and incredible when done well.
Artist Four Tet