Whether you are a lawyer, labourer or librarian, there are moments in every occupation when you question why you do what you do. In some jobs the answers are a lot more obvious; I am a doctor because I get to save people's lives; I am a teacher because I get to educate and inform... However, there are some professions where the answer isn't always so obvious. The field of design is one.
I have been in the creative industry in some shape or form for close to a decade, and when someone asks me why I do what I do there's a brief pause as I stop and think about the best answer to give; I design because I want to make the world a more beautiful place; I design because that's the best, and perhaps the only, way I really know how to communicate; I design because I can't imagine doing anything else. Regardless of the answer I give, it often feels more like a justification than a proud statement. In a world of excess and suffering, is having a career in design somewhat superficial? Does design matter?
Well, according to designer Ingrid Fetell, author of Aesthetics of Joy, designers play an important role in society. Design, far from being a luxury add-on, determines our values and shapes how we choose to live.
"As more and more of our products are made by machines, we are increasingly living in a world of objects that were created entirely in computers, with more attention paid to manufacturing specs than to the hands that will eventually use them....with each act of design, we are pulling resources out of the earth and concentrating them in objects. Design is what determines whether those objects have value or meaning, whether they support our intentions for how we want to live."
And that, readers, is exactly why design matters. Not only does it assign meaning, create associations and support intentions, it contributes to the greater good. This video, created by the guys at The School of Life , perfectly illustrates this very idea. It's definitely worth a watch.