It has been quite an incredible experience for me over the past semester. I came in from not having studied in over three years. The last thing I studied had nothing to do with the current area that I am involved in. My mind had been shut off from the world of design and in particular, the thinking and thought processes that go with it. Making the change from being just a consumer to becoming an actively thinking designer did not take as long as I expected. It seemed to be quite a natural and swift transition that has left me excited. It was the ease of this transition that makes me think that I was never really just a consumer. It has always been there. The mind of a designer. Thinking about things more intently and considering not just the object but all the actors and processes that exist because of it.
When Soumitri first got us to start using Twitter it was quite hard going. I had never really used it before and I never really thought much of it either. I had lots of friends who used it but I never really understood its value. So like a good student, I committed to posting at least twice a day on things that involved design and things that made me think. Things that excited me. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks in that I noticed that some people that I had never met before were following me on Twitter. They has obviously seen one of my tweets or retweets and decided that I was worthy of being followed. This was quite an eye opener for me as far as trying to figure out what tools we have at our disposal for creating change. The first step is education. By just tweeting a couple of times a day, I had managed to increase my reach to people that I did not even know over the span of a few weeks. They were being educated by tweets and posts just by us having similar interests or things in common. It is easy to see now how powerful this tool could be in trying to create change.
It was a most rewarding experience exploring ideas of global citizenship with my group and creating the info graphic. During our research, we found ourselves being captivated by some excellently executed info graphs. This gave us inspiration to really do a good job with our theme of global citizenship. It was easy to see how the info graphs have become so prolific in society today. Everyone is too busy and they need short and sharp facts here and now. A number and a small graphic is all that’s needed to communicate an issue and make the consumer stop and think. The info graphic’s power is quite amazing and I look forward to having more to do with them in future projects.
Moving onto a new approach to evoking change was refreshing. The papers and reading s from the likes of Ivan Illich and Daniel Bell were quite eye opening. Strangely enough, there was a feeling of comfort that came over me after realizing that there have been people thinking about and pushing for change for a long time. These readings did not contain new and radical ideas (well, they did for when they were published). It was a great feeling to know that our generation of future designers did not have to impress on the world some new radical idea of change and moderation. It is a sentiment that has been echoed since the Industrial Revolution began. Far from beginning a new cause, all we have to do is perpetuate and encourage that which has been known for a long time. Consume less. Design responsibly. Close the loop.
Exploring ideas of skilled labor versus unskilled labor and the balance of power was most rewarding as well. At a time when the net worth of a company is now being determined by the happiness of its workers instead of the overall assets it possesses, we explored different ways in which wealth could be evenly distributed amongst employees. I see it as a great injustice that the small few at the top take the lion’s share when the people actually doing the work take home a pittance. In the case of unskilled workers less than that!
As long as we continue to be mindful of the actors and processes at play in everything to do with design, the world will be better for it. I’m happy that in my time to come as a professional, there will be accountability for every material selected and process chosen for production. Everything has a price and we can no longer just waltz through this existence exploiting others and our limited resources as if there are no consequences.