18 March 2007

Bruce Nussbaum asks if designers are the enemy of design?

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Bruce Nussbaum
Bruce Nussbaum, Business Week’s assistant managing editor, has posted the text of a long and well-articulated speech that he gave at Parson’s on Thursday that advocates that design should not just be done by professionals, but by everyone – I couldn’t agree more – and how to go about that.

It also contains a critique on the lack of sustainability commitment by today’s designers.

The speech has a typical blunt Nussbaum style and is designed, he says, “to provoke design management students and show how I’ve redesigned my job at Business Week from the Voice Of Authority to the Curator of the Conversation on Innovation.”

Some excerpts:

“The blogs and websites are full of designers shouting how awful it is that now, thanks to Macs, Web 2.0, even YouTube, EVERYONE is a designer. Core 77 recently ran an article on this backlash and so did we on our Innovation & Design site. Designers are saying that Design is everywhere, done by everyone. So Design is debased, eroded, insulted. The subtext, of course, is that Real design can only be done by great star designers.

This is simply not true. Design Democracy is the wave of the future. Exceptional design may only be done by great star designers. But the design of our music experiences, the design of our MySpace pages, the design of our blogs, the design of our clothes, the design of our online community chats, the design of our Class of ’95 brochures, the design of our screens, the design of the designs on our bodies—We are all designing more of our lives. And with more and more tools, we, the masses, want to design anything that touches us on the journey, the big journey through life. People want to participate in the design of their lives. They insist on being part of the conversation about their lives.”

Read speech

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