Prompt #3
Janice Pang


Papanek discusses how the designer needs to acknowledge that the world is much larger than affluent societies and that the majority of designs are relevant to these affluent communities. However, the minority of designs are designed for the majority of people in need, people without the capabilities to design for themselves mostly due to a lack of design thinking.

At UC Davis, the preliminary design course, Design 1, emphasizes the need to think in design, and to think about for whom one designs. The class stressed design for the world, design to solve a problem, sprouting from Papanek’s ideal designer.

On the contrary, broadening the scope to other classes at UC Davis, Papanek’s idea is lost. Professor after professor talk about problems, but never invoke students to find solutions or even identify problems on a global scale. Many of the situations of which professors mention are relevant to a limited and specialized community, usually one of affluence.

I do not think that many people at UC Davis, moreover people within affluent communities, are well educated about the lack of attention to the real design problem: that education for local designers on a global scale is disabled.


The television set as a whole may provide an outlet to inspiration and global awareness. An outcome of a television could be to associate the local community with the world by providing a way to contextualize the society internationally. Alternatively, the product may inhibit Papanek’s vision of empowerment and induce a goal for consumerism and affluence. While the television itself may not be empowering in every application, the idea behind providing the product is. The design incorporated local designers learning and applying their skills to create a product for themselves. This process is itself empowering and allows the “first-world” designer to simply be a catalyst that provokes a project, but allows the local designer, or the permanent designer, to build upon itself to keep creating and addressing the needs of the immediate community.

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