Hugh Graham asks some searching questions on designers, their role in consumer culture and the philosophy of it all in this thoughtful post. Here's a snippet,
Should designers work toward the end of aspirational consumer culture? Can the design industry, broadly defined, reposition and reinvent itself to provide value and sustainability while still creating desire?
When I was at Northwestern, I took some classes from a Professor of Philosophy, David Michael Levin, who once asked us whether having a choice was important in our lives. Specifically, he was asking about the difference between choice and the appearance of choice. For instance, he asked, is it important to be able to choose between Crest and Colgate?
The problem ultimately is that all this consumption fills some sort of void in our lives, at least temporarily. And by feeding the void in our lives, designers are providing the stimulus that keeps the modern economy moving.
Niti Bhan focuses on offering strategic insight for growth opportunities and revenue generation in the rapidly evolving interstitial space between design and business. Her 15 years of experience include employers such McCann Erickson Worldwide, Hewlett Packard India, The Second City and most recently, the Institute of Design. She is an engineer and an MBA whose most significant achievement in the field of design has been dropping out of two graduate design programs on two continents in two centuries - the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad and the Institute of Design, Chicago. Her areas of interest are business intelligence and trends, business strategy as well as creating a compelling user case for design as force for increasing value.