God was a designer, I’m told (if you believe in that kind of stuff).
Some would say He was pretty much the ultimate designer – you know, making life, the universe and everything in six days is a pretty impressive portfolio. Magnificent scale, breathtaking beauty, painstaking attention to detail. Yellow pencil material.
The thing is, mankind has evolved (if you believe in that kind of stuff) to the point where God is losing His grip on His creations. God is slowly being killed, and we are in the process of taking things like morality, philosophy, science, law etc. into our own hands. (Admittedly it’s taking longer than some might have thought, but its happening.)
The effect of this is, it seems, is an ethical move towards humanism, or at least a more human-centered approach to existence – it means we can express ourselves, question things, and be free from some of the totalitarian ideological structures that have oppressed the lives of millions for centuries (getting a bit Richard Dawkins on your ass now but bear with me).
Here is where I begin to resolve this watertight and infallible analogy into some sort of design-related rant:
God was the first designer. Now, lets kill the rest.
Or rather, kill design as a profession. Design could be something done by and enjoyed by everybody. If God created man in His image, we all have a bit of the designer in us anyway, don’t we?
Everyone can create. Everyone has at some point had to be inventive to solve a problem posed by a faulty (or shit) product or service. The pidgeonholing of Design into a self-referential (and self-reverential) profession has rendered it, for the most part, boring and meaningless.
In “Here Comes Everybody,” Clay Shirky writes about how the internet killed off (or at least certainly damaged) the traditional media because people could now very easily publish anything for themselves. The meaning of “Journalist” as a profession changed because anyone could now share news and opinions in moments. I think the world would be potentially slightly amazing if this happened to design.
How might this happen? I don’t know yet. The development of Rapid prototyping and the implications of being able to print out your own products at home are massive. Or perhaps the potential of metadesign, with its focus on community developed projects and collaboration, will make a situation where everyone has a hand in creating their environments. Reclaiming the means of production and giving it back to the people. Sound familiar?
I’m running out of steam now. The whole God thing at the start may have been a little unnecessary. But I will probably write about this kind of stuff again.