I think throughout the 4 years of being here, I have fought a lot within myself whether I wanted to become a designer that designs beautiful, hand crafted objects for the niche and privileged market, surround myself with the world that I am comfortable with/used to, or if I wanted to push my values forward and work for the common good (whether it be social or environmental). As the years go by, I have gravitated more and more towards the latter, since projecting and visualizing my future in my own mind, just designing beautiful items for money/for people with money made me feel empty, and also struck guilt within me.
I guess being misunderstood a lot throughout my childhood, and having a lot of problems with identity and culture, I have become a person that always seeks for equal opportunity, justice and fairness in everything for everyone.
“Treat other people the way you want to be treated.”
This was something that my middle school headmaster said during one of our morning assemblies, and it has really been something that has stuck with me as one of my core values. This quote really applies to everything — friends, family, strangers, nature, public spaces — we should always be conscious It has always amazed me how for such a simple idea, people seem to not understand, or are not able to act accordingly. Then I realized how it’s all due to how people are raised differently, in different cultures and experienced different things which may make them not understand some things, but also understand some other things better than others.
I believe that good designers are the ones that are most open-minded and understanding, since it is part of their job to understand users and design empathetically. I also believe that good designers are able to do this, while still keeping the bigger picture in mind, aware of the consequences and the other parts of the system that their intervention is affecting/might affect.
With my former inner conflict in mind, I am striving to become a designer that creates delightful artifacts or systems, that educates and empowers people through the motivation of having fun.
Designers should understand how powerful design is, and use this as a tool to help others to understand/spark thought into others to become more open-minded and understanding to subjects that they are uncomfortable with. Artifacts or systems that spark a change in thought or attempts to ‘solve’ difficult issues do not have to be something that people hate doing, or have to consciously go out of their way to do something. Good design will naturally form and change people’s behaviours through their own inner interest and will to do something, so that it becomes part of their lifestyle rather than something that is constantly shouting at them to do something.
Many social entrepreneurs and activists have a lot of care and passion in making the world a better place/solving a certain problem, but most of the services they provide or the way they approach the problem is very disconnected from how their audience might react. They do not realize how large of an affect the visual aesthetics and flow can have on the flow of the system and how effective their intervention will be.
In the current modern world, where individuals are encouraged to be independent, and success is based on income, people are always striving to make more for themselves, they forget to look around, understand, care about and appreciate things around them. Due to this, the mass manufacturing of products created to be one size fits all has gained extreme popularity, littering the world with a lot of pointless and wasteful products. People have forgotten how to take care of things so that it is long lasting, since everything is easily replaceable, and people have also forgotten how to share.
I believe that designers have the power to, and should, intervene to design unique experiences that will resonate with a smaller group of people, having them feel more connected to each other and also have that experience be a catalyst for change.
View my hypothesis statement video here: