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Design is value

16/04/2014

There are many definitions and arguments of what design really is. “Design is a process”, design is “making things better for people”, design is “form and function” etc. I do not disagree. I just feel we should go deeper.

In the beginning of mankind someone made an axe using stone and wood. This tool increased the chances of survival – it was valuable for the inventor, their family and society. It was priceless. Creating the tool didn’t really follow a plot or a plan – I would imagine. The process was most likely intuitive and unintentional.If one looked at it and called the axe beautiful, I would argue that it was more a reflection of what this tool represented – the increased chance of survival- that was beautiful. It doesn’t make sense to talk about beauty or not.

One thing can be beautiful today and ugly tomorrow. Just look at cars. I have an old La Pavoni coffee machine that has served me for many years. To me it is “beautiful” and I appreciate the great coffee it can make. Some would find it out-dated and “ugly”. But herein lies the concept and perception of what value is. I perhaps value the machine higher that others as it reflects craftsmanship and one can see how the different functions of the machine work: Here is the boiler, here is the press handle etc. I will not mention the loud noise. For others it would have less value, but for me it is almost art and I value it highly. But it has a value. Otherwise it wouldn’t be design, according to me. Design should evoke our feelings and associations to what a product or service
etc. represents. Like the old axe that represented progress, security and hope. Design represents value.

John Brauer

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