• A world full of bad design

    Environment, Environmental Design

    Unfortunately my headline is true. We live in a world crowded by bad design. Of course, within certain limits, everyone is free to produce and sell whatever they like, and boy, they certainly do. The bad design can be seen in everything from small products to urban architecture. It pollutes our life, both when it’s around us and when it is thrown away. Sometimes you wonder if the manufacturers don’t for a minute think about the mountains of trash they are contributing to.

    In Singapore 10Touchpoints is trying to make a difference. They are working for better design and better living. They see the parking coupon, the seat at the hawker centre or the playground near your block as touchpoints. And well-designed touchpoints close the gap between what people want and need. 10Touchpoints has a nice description on what good design is according to them:

    “Good design puts people in the centre of the design process. It incorporates systems thinking, technology, historical and contextual relevance. It is economically viable. It is informed by ethics and responsibility without impeding social and technical innovation. It is beautiful.

    Good design brings various values such as sustainability, accessibility, usability and beauty to public spaces like our schools, hospitals, food places, and parks.”

    The project 10Touchpoints is launched by the Design Singapore Council and it has enlisted people in identifying things in their everyday public space that are irritating because of poor design.

    Susan Abbott at Customer experience crossroads picks out the following lines from the call:

    “10Touchpoints seeks to demystify design. Not just about relative coolness and high prices, or what you see on the glossy pages for the hip and rich. Design makes up what is around you. Design is about the relationships people forge with things. Design is thus something we value as it has an effect on how we get to work, better communicate and the energy we save.”

    Who could argue with that?

  • It’s understandable reality in today world, but in developing countries like Singapore that you said this situation is more terrible and in countries like Iran that even there isn't any council for managing and adapting these challenges, every things that have relation to design is so bad. If you are a designer and try to live in Iran all the time you will be shocked by Bad Designs ad relevant reflections on people and their behavior. It’s awful! But through information networks like here, I hope the Iranian designers like me and others try to make a strong decision for reducing bad design from community!

  • As a design student, we are often given with the task (What) and according to that we will start our design process (How). We learn and apply our methodologies and jump to our conclusion, the Design. Finally, we will be graded and being criticized by our tutors, and in most cases, it is the question of why that governs the judging criteria. So, our learning path can be seen as:

    (What) > How > (Why)

    Noted that what and why is in brackets, because they are initiated by the school. The only question that we have to resolve is How. Knowing that design is about problem solving, and the prerequisite to that is to identify the problem. Without truly comprehension of the problem, our methodologies can be off and there comes the catastrophe, so called Bad Design.

    The best point about 10Touchpoints is that it asks designers to seek the reasons to design. Learning to identify and analyze the problem is essential and it triggers thoughts, generates constructive ideas and produces Good Design. Learning path becomes:

    What > Why > How

    Via the process of identification and analyzation, we can decide (design) our solution(s). Only by 'doing it' (going through the entire process), in my own opinion, is How design education is supposed to be.

  • Fantastic find, David! I had heard about innovative "design thinking" coming out of Singapore around issues such as childhood obesity and chronic singlehood among young adults (!) but I didn't know about this 10Touchpoints initiative. Brilliant. I especially enjoy this line you wrote: "well-designed touchpoints close the gap between what people want and need." Profound but true. Imagine the infusion of creativity if we all were to wake up each morning and contemplate these very gaps in our own lives!

  • If you want to find something positive from this there is plenty of work for designers to do in order to make better products...

    Maybe far in the future - if we get there - there will be industrialized economy which perfectly integrates to ecological environment. If fusion reactor could be invented there could be plenty of free energy which production won't pollute environment and nanotechnology which enables us to create production which is perfectly clean as no atom left behind...

    Lets live in hope. But it may take a while before problems of our modern production will be solved. As long as money only is only target of the production there won't be ecological production. We need better values perhaps moneyless economy. This sounds good only to a small number of people. Usually people only want to be rich...as long as this is only value in life nobody cares about environment.

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