For our Design, Society, and the Public Sector class we read a sampling of Edward Bernays, Richard Buchanan, Allan Chochinov, Victor Papanek, and Maurizio Vitta.
To reflect on these readings we created illustrated guides to align our interpretations along an axis which represents a coordinating thought or point of view. What resonated with me is the concept of responsibility.
While reading through the selections, I came to view each author as offering their own warnings and ascribing responsibility to either the individual, designers, or both. For the purposes of my reflection, I focused on how well each selection came to rally designers to accept their share of responsibility.
Edward Bernays, in his writing ‘Manipulating Public Opinion: The Why and The How’, ascribes very little true responsibility to the designer. Rather he charges the individual to be aware of how their opinion is manipulated.
Maurizio Vitta states that designers should aim for the aspirational image of their users, but does not go far beyond that.
Richard Buchanan, in ‘Wicked Problems in Design Thinking’, places equal responsibility on individuals for learning design and participating in a technological society while also charging designers with the task of guiding society to reflect on their choices and to create new solutions beyond what has already been created.
Victor Papanek by contrast offers quite bluntly that designers are dangerous and that their lack of responsibility thus far has contributed to almost as many problems as they have solved.
Finally, Allan Chochinov succinctly states in 1000 words how it is absolutely the responsibility of the designer to think carefully of the consequences of their actions as ‘every curve is multiplied thousands if not millions of times.’ He goes on to charge designers to advocate strongly for sustainable practices and to be the proponents of holistic systemic thinking in design.No Comments »