If everything is design, what then is a designer?

Sara Ilstedt Hjelm


Design as an activity, a subject and an end product is expanding. Today we design everything from drugs to welfare systems. Society is an artefact where natural laws or science are no longer valid. But if everything is design and everyone designs what is then the particular competence of the practising professional in graphic, industrial or interior design? How can a design researcher contribute to the development of knowledge when it is argued that all research is design? The background for the discussion is pragmatic rather than ideological and is based in the authors own practice as a designer, researcher and educator. There is a growing need to articulate and visualise design practice and research for a larger audience. To handle and form complex forms into a coherent whole is suggested to be a central competence in design practice. It is argued that artefacts embody knowledge that speaks to us in an implicit manner. The ability to develop, use and understand the language of these materialisations is an important part of the designer knowledge in practice and research.

Full Text: