This deserves a much longer post than I currently have time for. But I just read Wired’s latest ‘letter from the editor’ and it reminded me of the increasing critical mass of articles, as well as industry and academic discussions, about the role of design as a force for change for the world’s social ills, as innovation for societal change, and as an all round panacea for all that ails.

I’ve seen presentations about how design can help solve homelessness, help alleviate poverty and, of course, provide innovative solutions for all those pressing first world problems. First world problems? Sure, user interfaces, social relationships, and client services all have design solutions.

However, call me simple-minded, but many of the world’s problems are economic. Homelessness, for example. Designing stylishly innovative fold-out corrugated temporary shelters for the homeless, is simply masking the problem. It actually has a very simple solution – build more homes!

OK, I’m sure that most design evangelists are aware of this. But there is an increasing fetishisation of design that worries me. And I speak as a designer, whereas many of those advocating for unrealistic or misunderstood visions of design’s role in the world, are not.

To be continued, I imagine…

Anyway, if you’re interested in how graphic designers think, here is an article about graphic designers’ relationships with stakeholders. In particular, focussing on the term graphic design within industry. Moreover, the industry and organisational aspects of design become relevant when we think about scholarly and professional aspects about what is a graphic design brief [PDF version available here]? Understanding the discourse around the design brief is important for stakeholders working with designers.