12.5.10

What is "Design" To You?

If you are a picture browser than perhaps today’s post is not for you.

Today I have something on my mind and I feel impassioned to discuss this glamorous sounding word that we so liberally throw around; DESIGN.

You may know that I am a sporadic jewellery maker, stitcher of little useful things and generally craft driven person. Whilst selling things on my blog I have been referred to as a “designer”. I don’t mind telling you that it is NOT something that pleases me, for to me a DESIGNER is a creator of an idea NOT necessarily a MAKER of the final object.

I take pride in being a crafter. Craft comes before design. A craftsman (“craftsperson” if you are sensitive) is a skilled individual who makes something from start to finish with their own hands or with the help of tools. Yes this may give rise to imperfection but this in itself is beautiful for it is human.

Design on the other hand is more of a thought process. Design can mean the de-skilling of people by breaking down the creation process into a factory line where every one or most like every machine, plays its part. To me, design has taken away traditional handcraft skills from a majority and left it in a corner somewhere to be forgotten while mass production machines provides our consumerist compulsion with cheaper but soulless things.

Personally I don’t care for the glamour associated with the word DESIGNER! I beg your pardon but I am happier referring to myself as a Maker. Furthermore, I am making it my life’s mission to learn as many crafts as possible before I kick the bucket.


"This" is Craft:


I am humbled by the craft of Hiro’s grandmother who made these items with her own fair hands:
hand carved wooden laquered mirror.

An example of origami from when she was young .
It is aging beautifully:

On it's reverse:


So what is 'Design'?

Hiro agree's with Dieter Rams:
  • Good design is innovative
  • Good design makes a product useful
  • Good design is aesthetic
  • Good design makes a product understandable
  • Good design is unobtrusive
  • Good design is honest
  • Good design is durable
  • Good design is thorough down to the last detail
  • Good design is environmentally friendly
  • Good design is as little design as possible
But, being traditionally Japanese in his aesthetic philosophy Hiro would add that;

Good design is harmonious, with itself, with the people and its surroundings.


So that is us. Hiro is a designer and I am a crafter.
Then, his Brother is an Artist and one of my sisters is one too.
We like to bash heads and debate about CRAFT vs DESIGN vs ART.

According to the BBC's brilliant series, The Genius of Design, design can chart an alternative social history of mankind.

I ask you.....

WHAT IS DESIGN TO YOU??


10 comments:

  1. To me design is beautiful utility, like the mirrors made by Hiro's granny.

    I like everyday things to be both fit for purpose AND aesthetically pleasing!

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  2. Well I think some percentage of design has to go into crafting!

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  3. I never really thought that question before. I think it's a little too complex for me to get my head round actually...

    I suppose it's where a person can express their ideas into something materialistic in a creative way? I don't know. I suppose my definition is awful since it would also include writing and literature. Oh, but now I'm confused.

    Hiro's grandmother's handmade things are beautiful! Talent must run in your families!

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  4. I never thought of "DESIGN" that way. I guess I lumped it in with "CREATOR" too.. Hrmm... Something new for me to ponder.

    But you are an excellent "CRAFTER" I love every single thing you create! And Hiro's gma is amazing! That mirror is love!

    Off to think about your question.....

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  5. This is a very debateable subject.

    To me, good design is generally a combination of different qualities - what it does, what it looks like, etc etc.

    Primarily it has to be useful, a good examle is the hand carved wooden laquered mirror by Hiro's grand mother. It qualifies as a very good design simply by fulfilling its funtion effeciently plus its aesthetic value. It is a well designed craft..

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  6. Brilliant post, mrs - I'd say that design is part of craft, almost like a subset, even? I'm particularly interested in 'good design is unobtrusive': does that conflict with standing out? You have to have a focal point, no matter whether it's in a room, an outfit or an object...

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  7. wow that is a beautiful piece of craft from Hiro's grandmother. My grandmother-in law is not so much a crafts person but an artist; she does wonder calligraphy and watercolour painting.

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  8. Thank you all for your feedback! Really interesting to know what you think.

    MJ - Good point! I am always in favour of having one item at least that clashes with everything. This is normally something from childhood or perheps even inherited. I am not at all comfortable with seemless spaces that are "too designed".

    Nic - Interesting to know. Hiro's other grandmother was a shuji calligraphy teacher too. It is how she brough up her sons. He is also related to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ry%C5%ABsei_Kishida

    ReplyDelete
  9. love this post. i don't think i could have summed it up better myself :P as i lack the words to express what i am thinking currently...

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is a very debateable subject.

    To me, good design is generally a combination of different qualities - what it does, what it looks like, etc etc.

    Primarily it has to be useful, a good examle is the hand carved wooden laquered mirror by Hiro's grand mother. It qualifies as a very good design simply by fulfilling its funtion effeciently plus its aesthetic value. It is a well designed craft..

    ReplyDelete

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