The Role of the Designer (Part 1)

“The role of the designer”- what exactly is that? What exactly is a designer? What exactly is a role? It’s all very confusing really. Not to mention that the answer tends to unsatisfactorily boil down to “Does it really matter any way?” or “It’s not really a fixed thing”. Infuriating.

But let’s thrash it out anyway. For appearances sake.  Firstly I’m going to explain what the role of the designer was to me before the various group mind mapping sessions and frantic scribblings (many posted in previous blog entries) punctuated by my accidental dosing off. To me a “designer” was a pretty uncomplicated term simply because it was so vague; designers make dresses and battleships and web-pages and teapots and duvets and book jackets. Designers are people who make things. Um, wrong. Less than 30 seconds and I knew I was wrong, because the designer of the battleship almost certainly never lent a hand in it’s physical building. So the most likely explanation now seemed to be that (perhaps this ought to have been my first thought)- designers are people who design things!

Um, no. Not if I can’t define what the process of design is, that bit needs to be understood. So let’s ask a dictionary (well, and find out.

1.To prepare the preliminary sketch or the plans for (a work to be executed), esp. to plan the form and structure of: to design a new bridge.

(or a battleship or a teapot)

2.To plan and fashion artistically or skilfully.

3.To intend for a definite purpose: a scholarship designed for foreign students.

4.To form or conceive in the mind; contrive; plan: The prisoner

designed an intricate escape.

5.To assign in thought or intention; purpose: He designed to be

a doctor.

The big themes here are the ideas of purpose, intent and planning. Design seems to be about having ideas (particularly creative ones) and building upon them to reach a goal, complete a task or solve a problem.

And so another question rises, as it has done repeatedly though the year to point that it almost looses meaning; what’s the difference between a designer and an artist?

We’ll consider such things at a more reasonable hour.

This entry was published on April 20, 2010 at 12:10 am and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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