“There is no product without design, everything around us is designed. Even nature. The issue concerns how it is designed – whether it’s done in a good or bad way.” Thus begins the story of design in my book, Co je vlastně design? [What is Design?].
The premise that something is designed and something is not, is no longer sufficient. Marketing, and —unfortunately— also mainstream design discourse, fills our minds with false ideas such as ‘a design chair’, ‘a design hotel’, etc. This means that you are paying extra for its special form, look, shape, originality, and so on. But all products, services and whole systems are designed, and all of these influence our everyday lives. Design is a broad area encompassing human creativity and a person’s desire to change themselves and their surroundings for the better, but sometimes, sadly, it is for the worse. I believe that to understand design is to understand the world in context. So let’s start to address critical, open-minded thinking about design and redefine our view of this everywhere-phenomenon.
Introduced in the book are the cultural, social, economic and artistic aspects of design, with comments on contemporary design throughout history, in consideration of the material world and of people’s creativity. I explore what determines the look of things, their practical purpose, who designs them, how design is generally discussed, and how design changes ourselves and our living conditions.
Divided into five chapters, the introduction deals with the notion of design, its content, its public image, the personality of a professional designer, and the potential benefit or harm of the wrong design. The chapter Design Sells covers design in respect of business, branding, fashion, marketing, advertising, jobs, and such topics, with reference to the first industrial revolution and other historical events. Design Helps treats design in connection with its users and their environment, technological innovations, science, sustainability, and evaluation criteria, and includes examples of good and bad design. Nowadays, design not only involves ‘things’ but also thinking, strategies and ideas; these intangible aspects are discussed in Design is a Plan. The final chapter, Design without Designers, diverts the discussion from professional design to amateur creativity. The focus here is on hobbies, maker culture, and various DIY activities past and present. Aimed at readers from the age of 12, the book debates the development of critical thinking.
With the organisation Designéři dětem [Designers for Children], I’m currently developing a specific educational programme. Workshops are arranged that evolve the main topics in the book. The goal is to view History, Nature, Chemistry, and Language, along with other subjects taught in primary and secondary schools, through design.author of the text: Kateřina Přidalová