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Foreword Designers, ­the new messiah? The designer as a messiah — I’ve heard this argument too many times now to stay silent on the subject. The trigger came from attending the recent “What Design Can Do” conference in the Netherlands where this statement came up for discussion, namely that “Designers can save the world.” It reminded me of a moment at a design conference where Wally Olins, responding to a remark which held the view that “brand consultants are bad for the environment because of the incredible and sometimes ridiculous amount of throw-aways after a branding exercise”, angrily retorted, “You think God sent designers to save the world? Goddamn it, ­you all are just designers”. Clearly Wally was fuming but after a bit of thought, he responded by saying, “If companies were more efficient in everything they actually did, more trees and natural resources would be saved and as a result so would what is thrown away during a branding exercise”. My view on the subject? Get real guys, forget about saving the world —­we function because we are paid to function. Everything we do has a function, sometimes it’s a function of sustenance and sometimes of emotion and such. Ironically of the designers that attended the conference, just a handful were young or from a non-­ design background. Ideally such a conference should have had a relevant audience. If a designer, at the age of 50, is still attempting to figure out what design can do, then for me, there is an inherent contradiction in the works. Designers can make a huge difference and we need to accept that and move beyond that argument. Alan Fletcher once said, “Design is not a thing you do, it’s a

way of life.” A designer looks at the world around with a keen eye and considers possibilities for improvement. It’s NOT JUST about changing the package, it’s about changing the system. And designers are not part of one homogenized breed or from one institution — design is about a mindset. It’s a part of the way we think, it’s not limited by skill. A designer’s function is to create impact, make things easier and more intuitive. I have always believed; and I doubt many will oppose this ­view — nature is the most influential and inspirational mechanism for designers. We need to exploit what we see in nature —­the beauty and effectiveness of function to create an impact ­and design for effectiveness. After 3.8 billion years, nature has most of the answers to design solutions and designers just need to look around and ensure that nature inspires them. Trust me, it’s what is around you not just what’s on your screen. Stop trying to save the world. Look around you,­change the world. Rajesh Kejriwal




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