• Average is good enough!!

    Arts & Culture

    In response to A lack of design knowledge, posted by David Carlson,
    in the thread A lack of design knowledge

    Some very good points raised - I'm sure this trend is seen in most western countries, not just Sweden.

    For years I have been aware of how many people making critical strategic decisions about design and it's role in a product or brand, are not people who can see or appreciate the subtle difference between great/good design and average/poor design.

    For most business people, marketing managers, budget holders, CEO's these decisions are based purely on their experiences of products and brands in their life to that point. Their opinions are very rarely the result of analysis and understanding of the subtle levels of communication that take place in all designs good or bad. On the whole they make judgements from the standpoint of someone who will have mostly consumed 'Average Design'.

    The problem with so called 'Average Design' is that it swamps the market place and therefore lowers the bar for what is acceptable. One thing my days in publishing taught me is that for a while at least people will give most products a go no matter how poor the design - how can this be so?? I rationalised that if a product like a magazine makes it to the market place, end users perceive initially that it is good enough to be there, else why would it be there - who would spent all that money to make something that is bad!! With consumer goods this is magnified by demographics and price, the poor need cheap goods and there benchmark for assesment is other cheap goods. It is reasoned that cheap goods can't be as well designed as expensive goods, but that they must still be designed to some standard if they make it to the market place.

    So we have a world that on the whole is swamped by 'Average Design' that is on the whole good enough in the eyes of the 'Average End User'. I call this the 'Democracy of Design'. As with politicians, manufacturers tend to do what they can get away with.

    It is no coincidence that the few well designed brands and products out there, have either hung on to the values and ethics of more competitive times (lest say Apple), or have had owners with an almost philanthropic approach to their goals (lets say Dyson).

    Unfortunately I do not see how things will change till either the consumers exorcise their democratic right and stop accepting 'Average Design' or those making decisions on Design become educated to the same level as the actual design community itself, god forbid they ever take out community so seriously that they actually start to trust our suggestions - now there's a thought!

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