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  • Design is often mistaken as decoration

    Arts & Culture, Industrial Design

    I was looking at a dumb TV commercial yesterday about a waffle iron that was described as “designed”. Isn’t all waffle irons designed? It is probably a quite complex process to develop and produce a waffle iron and without design it is complete impossible. In this commercial the epithet design was mistaken for some shallow decoration. The producer of the product was probably trying to describe it as “hip”, “exclusive” or “modern looking”.

    Design is probably one of the most misused words today. Unfortunately it happens all the time.

  • Ask two people, one a designer and one not a designer, what "design" means. You'll get wildly different answers. And unfortunately for us, the non-designer is probably more correct.

    We don't own the word design, and we really shouldn't be using it. Design is too much of a generic term. We might as well call ourselves "makers" and then get irritated and self-righteous when anyone else refers to "making something." As far as the English language is concerned, "design" can be used to describe many things, only a few of which match the way designers use that word.

    Design can mean to plan something.

    Design can mean the appearance of something.

    Design can mean to create something.

    Design can mean the plan itself.

    Design can even mean ulterior motives, as in "I have designs on my brother's inheritance".

    "Design" is a vague, generic word that means everything and nothing. If we want the world to understand and respect us, we need to find a new word that isn't vague or generic.

  • 113034660

    l had the same experience with a TV show moderator she presented "5 stars home" as she would ever had something to do with this profession... well...looks like to be a good reporter doesnt mean just to look great on screen or seem fancy when u use words like "design". :) most funny was when being presented a chair made by an artist (painted wings sticked of the rair and so on...) she allways wanted to correct the saleswoman that the chair is "a piece of design" not "of art"...well...lm so intrigued how the television can show such things to the entire world. ...and by the "modern looking" term l also had a sad experience with a client she started to cry when l kindly asked her to explain me more clearly what does she means by the "modern" term...:( spite we talk the same languages we just understand them different l guess...Hmm...pity :)

  • this situation which you described, it has been a routine attitude in daily dialogs and when the languages is change this situation will be more terrible. Imagine a language which has just a word for all of this: design, drawing, technical drawing, decoration, molding, and etc. that time we will have more problems than it.

  • Thanks for all the responses on my posts. I lost my password during the summer but now I'm back on track again! You will find some new posts every now and then. Looking forward to continue the dialogue with you all.

    You will find a new post about Vulgarism below.

  • Hi David,

    I read your report and I answered to it on my blog. It would be definetely interesting to discuss on the topic. I think it is highly interesting.

    I started a discussion here at DESIGN 21.

    All the best, Marco

  • Thanks for commenting on my latest report on your blog. As you are saying it is a highly interesting topic that needs to be discussed further. I will keep following your blog.



  • I believe that there need not be a vs about in the subject but the word and. Great design always needs <a href="">rapid prototyping</a> immediately after sketching.

  • I believe that there need not be a vs about in the subject but the word and. Great design always needs rapid prototyping immediately after sketching.

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