What the fuck is a designer?

The word design, to me, means a lot. Not personally, but in a definitional sense. Its value is often debated in a philosophical manner. To relieve us from wrecking our brains, Frank Chimero held a great talk at 2010’s Build conference (a small design conference) and talked about what the fuck a designer actually is. He moves from his initial definition, wherein a designer is “a planner with an aesthetic perspective” to fully quoting Aristotle, crediting him with the best interpretation in history (from 19:15 minutes onwards, for those who don’t take time to watch the whole talk).

What I liked most about his talk is that design can trigger a physical response, and surprise us with a clear message. “If you seduce, you don’t need to conquer” means that design can be a delight, “a small lesson in seeing the world as something good”. To me, this is sustainable design – design that triggers, and makes you do a double take – rethinking why and how you consume on a daily basis.

Frank ends his talk with reminiscing his best work ever, which illustrates when he thinks the value of design is evident. That is and was whenever he had to communicate a message he truly believed in, to people he cared for.

Thanks, Mr. Designer, for being so “thoughtful, vulnerable and human”.

PS If you like Frank, and this talk, he has a bid running on Kickstarter, crowdfunding the book, based on this talk. For only $5 dollars you already have the digital edition. Incredible movie, too. Go and see.

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