October 29, 2007

Against fluff

Here's an article critiquing the mainstreaming of design as an environmental issue, from Core77 via psfk. Old, but still relevant:

"There is nothing new in accusing designers of being superficial, what is more novel is designers re-conceiving of themselves as the creators of landfill. A growing number of designers share environmentalists' concern that design is part of the problem...

"Criticising designers' role in consumerism is not new; Vance Packard castigated planned obsolescence in 'The Waste Makers' in 1960, Victor Papanek made the case for socially responsible design in the seventies, a baton Nigel Whiteley picked back up in the nineties. What is new is that an anti-consumerist agenda is being welcomed in from the critical margins to the mainstream by designers.

"The central concern here is that designers are contributing to over-production of stuff that we don't need. Styling is suspected as a form of aesthetic manipulation that stimulates the urge to buy. While innovation is criticised as often amounting to little more than meaningless feature tweaks. Too much stuff, too much choice."

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