The unfolding of design discipline since the 19th century has been a tussle over what objects can be given the “good design” stamp of approval.
Through the lens of creative consciousness – the instinct that compels us to continuously adapt our world to suit our selves – we can see clearly where we have missed the mark in a world of our own design – pollution, degrading poverty, environmental destruction, alienation and anxiety on a massive scale. But I resist imposing a judgment of “good” or “bad” on any particular object.
On a recent wintery Berkeley night with rain streaking past the streetlamp outside my window, I was settling into Steven Heller and Veronique Vienne’s 2003 collection of essays, Citizen Designer. It offers 70 or so designer’s takes on what it takes to do “socially conscious design”. In the introduction to the introductory essay, Heller poses the question “What is good design?” Struggling with the presumptuousness of this question, I found myself writing the following note in the “margin” of my iPad:
“Good” resides in the things we create that reflects the best of the human spirit. It is those things that, in some small way, make the world more like the world that we would love to live in.