What does it mean being a designer today?


October 31, 2013 by Liat

In our first lesson we started with introducing each-other and understanding why the students desire being designers and what are the most important things for them in life. The answers to the first questions came about in three different categories:

1. I want to leave my signature (style, ideas) in the world

2. I want to change and improve the world (better objects, more beauty, quality)

3. I want to give liberty to a strong interior creativity

The most important things in the life of the students vary from traveling to fate, food, music and others. All of the though share the importance of family and friends: our society, our social networks, our beloved.

We talk about how we can improve the life of those people who are near us, and bring design a social aspect. While the definition of social design will be discussed in the next lesson, we begin to talk about design responsibility.  We explore the role of design in society and how it changed the life of people throughout history. We ask ourselves: How is design influencing today society? Is it careful about its good or bad consequences? In other words what are the ethics we may define for Design?

We take in exam an article by Ezio Manzini about Design ethics and highlight the most important points.  We stop on well being and what does it mean to be happy? To grow well? Can we do it without consuming so much stuff?

Back to Manzini, and beginning from the phrase: ““ the prospect of living well (or better) while consuming less clearly calls for a radical change in social expectations (and a systemic discontinuity in the production system)”.  We ask ourselves: What is radical change?

Tim Brown gives his definition of innovation in the book “Change by Design” We have a look at what he is proposing as being radical innovation.


There is a need for radical change since we are handling a complex situation full with wicked problems. We have to be brave, to keep our eyes open and to always ask (the right) questions.

Finally, our responsibility as designers is to take our creativity and our ability to design thinking, and use it in order to bring innovation to everyday life, to people who need it and to leave a positive design sign in the world. In other words, we cannot not change the world! 


One thought on “What does it mean being a designer today?

  1. […] having starting to think in our first lesson what does it mean to be a designer today and what are our social responsibilities as designers we […]

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This course is held at NABA: Nuova Accademia di belle arti www.naba.it by Chiara Gambarana and Liat Rogel

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