The Most Important Design Jobs of the Future?

I generally take notice when I find a posting from FastCoDesign. They tend to be really good, and every now and then I delve into them a little deeper, but I have to confess I’m not as thorough as I’d like.

Except for this one.

The article cites a number of new and emerging design disciplines, all very compelling and exciting — and to be clear, terrific to actually name the activities that we as designers often find ourselves doing by default. So as a working designer I was interested — where do they propose my particular discipline may end up? Sadly we didn’t make the cut. Yves Behar and Bill Buxton hint at it, but you have to read between the lines to see it.

I was a little surprised, well maybe that’s not the right word, disappointed is likely a better choice, (especially given some noted Industrial Designers being on the list). Not simply that Industrial Design was absent, but that any acknowledgment of the making of stuff — call the discipline what you will — was missing.

Last I checked, we are not virtual beings, we are physical, and as physical beings we will always need physical things, and ironically enough, many of the experiential elements outlined by these new disciplines will in fact be facilitated through a physical object.

In light of that, and not to mention our fractious relationship with the material and energy resources required to make things, I would propose that FastCoDesign consider another discipline for the list of vital design jobs of the future — number 19 — Industrial Design.

Now I’ll be the first to acknowledge that the term may not be the right one — and the lack of a good replacement may in fact be a contributing factor to it’s absence. It is often difficult to re-cast the image of a thing, that has already been named, without changing it’s name so with some confessed self interest — to better describe what I do to my potential clients — I’m going to search out a new one, and maybe next time make the list.

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