Sunday, February 27, 2011

Journal Entry No. 3/Summary of Article

Stefan Sagmeister seems to have an outlook on design similar to mine.

In his TED lecture, he starts out by explaining his trips to China. He mentions how he was very dependent and superstitious about the design he saw when he got off the plane. If it was good, he would have a good time, if it was bad he would have a bad time.

He then transitioned into talking about a list he made of moments that took his breath away. Making the connection that some of those moments were influenced or directly related to design, he concluded that design can make people happy. He then described a specific memory that he had when design made him happy involving a bike and a walkman. Being happy while designing is also a subject he touched upon.

In his pontification of design, he also realized that the visualization of happiness is easy. He showed many examples of happy faces and other "happy" things. Design that incites is what was in question. He wondered how much design actually incites happy feelings.

As his closing, he showed a series of designs which a direct from a list of things he has learned in life, adding a very wholesome and meaningful message to his lecture.

Stefan Sagmeister is humorous, insightful, charismatic, and good at design. These are all qualities that would make any design speaker "popular". Additionally, he is supporting and covering topics that our society seems to be increasingly interested in. The direction design is moving seems to have much in common with the topics he covers.

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Sagmeister's article, How Good is Good?, starts by stating that, "There is nothing inherent in our profession that forces us to support worthy causes." He contemplates the incentive of humans and designers to do "good" things in the world. There are three reasons he gets up in the morning:

1. Strive for Happiness
2. Don't Hurt Anybody
3. Help others achieve the same

With these guidelines in mind, he is careful to design for things that he believes in or supports in some way. Making a conscious effort to do good things in the world, Sagmeister wanted to move from designing "cool" things to significant things.

In a brief chronology of design starting from the 80s, he states that our recent culture leaves room for questioning what design is for and for whom it is being done for. He quotes Victor Papanek when he says that advertising is the phoniest career in existence (which I somewhat agree with). This statement leads into his discussion of bad design and how it makes the world more difficult to live in.

Moving to the better side of design, he questions whether doing good should allow him to have fun and receive good back. He asks if being good must be selfless as he transitions into talking about celebrities and charities. He concludes that perhaps celebrities fund charities to improve their image, or maybe they just realize that fame, money, and success do not bring the satisfaction they expected and thus look for more out of life.

He concludes that design can do many things, such as makes someone feel better or makes the world a safer place. Overall, the issues covered in his writing are very relevant to my life and outlook on design. I really enjoyed reading his article and watching his TED lecture.

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