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…..