The Designer Condition

That is, in relation to the human condition. Us.

It is by and large an effect of the human condition that we create our own problems as much as we solve them. Need to get places? Make the motorcar. Need the motorcar to get places? Make roads. Need the roads to get places? Destroy forests and reshape the land to pave the way for these roads to pave the way for the cars to pave the way for us. All of a sudden we realise, all too late, we needed all those trees we put so much effort into clearing for a spot of indulgent convenience. How do we now solve this issue?

Soon, designers get involved. Not just designers of the “design” industry, but of all our brothers and sisters in science and engineering and biochemical research and medicine and so on, so forth. It becomes our job to solve the problems our predecessors created. Only now, these seeds of industrialism they’ve planted have grown so enormous and malignant we can do little to truly fix them. In fact, we must realise we are also the cultivators of these plants ourselves.

I struggle with the thought that perhaps all I can really do as a designer is design band-aids. All I can do is patch up the wounds and hope they close. Maybe I can prune the plant a little, but as almost all other plants, it will grow back stronger.

To what extent can design create change – for the better?

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