Via Dan Pink's blog, a link to a provocative Gizmodo posting from the creative director of frog design in New York. Is design dead? Are we in the midst of a crises of creativity?
It's an unexpected suggestion, particularly from someone in the design field, but Valerie Casey says the combination of manufacturing efficiency and the need for speed to market, the growth of design academies in China and the power consumers wield to create on their own, makes for a perilous future for designers:
The fundamental notion of the (closed) design object is defunct: the “thingness” of a product no longer determines its value. Extreme product manufacturing pressures, the new profile of the design community, and the increasing sophistication of end-users are shaping the future of design. In this perfect storm, product designers are on a trajectory to irrelevance and ultimately, invisibility.
It's a great point worth amplifying. Design that answers the unasked question lasts longer because, like art, it's comfortable with mystery. This is one key difference in my view between presented and discovered problems. The objective springs to mind after the fact.
In my view mystery always precedes the breakthrough. And it often separates design from art. The canvas frame and oils hardly matter with great paintings. It's "thingness" is, indeed, irrelevant.
What excites me is the potential for artful customer-designed products. Like personal media, there might be more beauty there than imagined by the design gatekeepers.