Recommended ReadsSeptember 3rd, 2019

Design education’s big gap: understanding the role of power

We are doing an increasing amount of projects in the social and community sector involving people experiencing barriers to fair and equitable justice, such as youth at risk of homelessness and people with cognitive disability. When doing these projects, we have the best of intentions in our approach. We might think we have ‘done good’ and have delivered on the principles of good design according to Dieter Rams, including:

  • Good design is innovative
  • Good design makes a product useful
  • Good design is aesthetic

But we are not the recipients or users of the products or services we’re engaged to work on. What do those people define as good, and how do they get to have a say? Do they care if it’s innovative or aesthetic?

Fundamentally, it’s about who gets to define what ‘good’ means.

In this article, George Aye suggests some alternative principles of what 'good design is' before shifting to a new paradigm, one which moves the power balance away from designers and the idea of 'ownership' altogether:

  • Good design learns from anthropology
  • Good design learns from social work
  • Good design learns from community organising

Recommended by Kate Goodwin


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