Very simply, we are all connected. Everything is inter-dependent. We are all in this together.
What does this mean for design? Everything.
Most commonly we, as industrial designers, are charged with the task of designing products for consumption. These products drive economy, politics, culture, etc. and make up the built environment. We are given the task of creating the products that will make or break companies; that will shape industry and society.
So often, whether right or wrong, our products define individuals. In the United States especially, people are more often seen as what they own, rather than what they do. Everything from what car you drive, to the shirt you wear, to the cell phone you talk on – every product people purchase is a decision and is therefore an extension of themselves. Beyond creating functional solutions to problems, we design ways for people to express themselves. This is undoubtedly an important and worthwhile job. However, this cannot be the end.
In the same way that we are connected to the world through design economy and the business of design, we are also connected simply as people. We are a race, a species, a family. As designers, we must be the voice of people. There are many people in the world who have the ability to stand up on their own and who will voice their needs, but there are many more people who do not have a voice that will ever be heard in that sense. We must be their voice. We are called...