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We Need Designers to Change Our World

Posted: 11.29.2017 no comments



Designers have the power to solve the world’s problems, but it means creating more systems and less stuff, says Dutch designer and environmentalist Babette Porcelijn.


Read the entire article at Dezeen



According to Porcelijn, designers are better equipped than any other profession to offer solutions to issues such as pollution, climate change and depletion of resources. “Scientists can show us what we should not do, but we need designers to show us what we should do,” she told Dezeen.


“It requires a paradigm shift – you have to rethink everything. It’s a design issue and a design challenge.”But she believes solutions can only be reached if designers start thinking about the bigger picture, rather than focusing on only one issue at a time.


“You have to think about all things combined,” she said. “If you focus on one single issue, you might just fix it, but you might make things worse in another area.”


The biggest human impact on the planet, she explained in the talk, is the manufacture of new products. “It’s really surprising. I thought it would be flying or meat. But that’s the point – you don’t know and you can’t trust your intuition when it comes to the environment, because the blind spot of hidden impact is so big that our gut feeling is often not correct.”


Porcelijn is now calling for designers to completely rethink their approach. She believes design skills could, for instance, be better applied to developing sustainable new supply chains or solving the global food crisis. “I think we all need to get our priorities straight,” she said. “Prior one is not your own design status or the money you make. All those things are inconsequential if there is no proper society functioning anymore!”


“Now is the time to make the right designs, and perhaps that means not designing something,” she continued. “It could mean designing an immaterial solution, to help people to not want to have a crazy abundance of stuff they don’t really need. It could be to design food that is sustainable but just as nice as the food we eat now. It could be to design a power supply that is sustainable and functions just as well as the ones we have now.”


“We have to do all these things if we want to save our society.”