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Sam Luk
  • Sam Luk
  • Manchester, Uk
  • United Kingdom

Design Studio Manager,

TEDCRED 30+

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Can design save the world?

Apologies! Bit of a sensationalist headline, but did you click on here because of it? I suppose small things like how we phrase a question can make a difference in inducing a little bit more excitement in what we see.

My original title was 'Can design help solve global issues?' :)

Sometimes I feel disillusioned in my job, I don't think it's exclusively what I do but it's the design/creative industry as a whole.

The existence of design is functionality, the art of selling, deception and persuasion. For as long as I can remember it leant towards consumerism, how to sell the best trainers, how to create an ethos for a junk food chain, and even the power of propaganda.

Designers exert so much energy dreaming of the next best thing to sell or the next best piece of marketing and product placement. I have no doubt a dazzling array of talents work hard to persuade us into buying something else that we won't need. And often they succeed. 'It was just a job I told myself, personal feelings of the product is irrelevant, now how do I make this cardboard box appealing?'

I see mass potential, I see a vast ocean of creative thinkers who are trapped in the corporate vessel driven by the power of money (but not all). Imagine if each one can spare an hour a day, even an hour a week just to have a think about a global issue and then apply their set of skills, I really believe creatives can change the way we think about the world.

I'm definitely not implying designers are the smartest people on earth (we're so not lol), I'm thinking of our ability to 'raise awareness'. It can come in many forms such as - simplifying information, making difficult issues more accessible, providing greater platforms for coverage, improving presentations, encouraging participation, etc.

If the creative industry is a little more charitable, I really believe flexible thinking can make the world a better place.

What do you think? :)

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    Apr 21 2011: :)

    A good thought, hmm. We do live in a complex world, some people can live rich beyond comprehension, whilst their neighbours cannot earn enough to feed their children. It's definitely subjective for each of us. I'm guilty of simplifying the subject, so perhaps I should unbox the subject and call it 'the things we can do to help others'. :D

    I had a thought last night when I went to bed, what if there was an organisation that brought together agencies to encourage their creative staff to donate their time to tackle an issue that's important to them? I know the industry is very competitive and also move at an incredible pace, many young designers are caught in the machine, which I think can be soul-destroying. It would be nice to say 'Hey, you like solving problems, here's a very human problem for you... would you like to take part?

    The D&AD Awards (British Design & Art Direction) is like an Oscar award for international designers, there's an entry fee for submissions. What if we have a new category (something like) 'Global Design' and waive the entry free - that presents an incentive for innovation. The creatives might be motivated by prestige and fame, BUT it does encourage the flow of ideas or smart design that can be used for good.

    I'm trying to think what type of carrots to dangle...
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    Apr 20 2011: :D Yes I did click because of the title and yes I do agree that smarter and better design can improve our way of life.
    Global issues ... you know, those issues change according to how many dollars you haver to survive per day.
    Just a thought ...