Sunday, October 21, 2012

Week 7: the readings

As designers we want to do good. Plain and simple.  We don't want to hinder; we want to improve. We want to identify problems and help solve them. I'm not talking about the shallow problems that are easily fixed with a corporate rebrand (not that these aren't real problems, but they're not quite as challenging as say rebuilding a community?), I'm talking about the problems that can improve the quality of life for large groups of people. Designers are attracted to these kinds of problems because they challenge us, because there is no easy fix, because it will test every skill we thought we had mastered. It takes time, perseverance, and many resources to truly have an effect. The opportunity to present substantial solutions that can truly make a difference for humanity is every designers dream; to propose an impeccable design solution to a real world problem is one of the most reWhile this isn't exactly curing cancer or defying gravity, it is a small, but significant contribution for the greater good. 

Within the search for a problem, we tend to reach for the stars. We usually find a big problem and find the system of solutions that can imprint and impress. And I feel this is what Bruce Nussbaum was trying to hint at with his initial article. The designer's ego may have a presence in the efforts to design for good. And That's okay. There is no such thing as a selfless deed, but if we can keep our good intentions in our backyards and in places where we can immerse ourselves in the place we are trying to better, our good hearted intentions will not appear as imperial. I can't help but think that this argument whittles down to humble beginnings; to be able to accept that we have problems at home that we need to focus before we try and help our neighbors.

Our neighbors need to be studied and tailored to, something I feel we have been practicing for the past couple years now. We have been learning about behavior and needs, both of the body and of the mind. While these behaviors will often change and continue to evolve beyond our understanding it is important that we pass along these understandings to future designers.

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