The Department of Illustration

Change Observer

Posted in Ideas, Writing, Theory by The Department of Illustration on August 3, 2009

Design Observer blog has a new sibling devoted to documenting and reflecting on the social function of design. As the recession bites deeper the  design community has become less involved in the styling of consumer products and has turned its collective problem solving mind to issues such as sustainable living, universal communication, human scale activism etc…a radical sea change in the assumptions surrounding what a designer does. Ellen Lupton says in D.I.Y.: Design it Yourself-

Gramsci argued that all people are intellectuals, but that only some take on the public role of an intellectual within society. Being a designer is a particular kind of intellectual- decisions about your environment, appearance, media consumption etc.

To manipulate the messages and materials of design in an active way is to take on the social role of the designer. Following Gramsci we prefer to define design as a social function rather than as a profession or academic discipline.


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