On the Design Council

Remind me, are we still paying taxes for these people?

Critic Alice Rawsthorn agrees that designers’ involvement in helping negotiate death needs to be treated sensitively: “Death is one of those areas where the interests of government, religion, the law, capitalism and free will all converge, making it an unusually complex field in which to intervene.”

Despite its complexity, the process of dying is an issue that — with the clock ticking for our ageing population — urgently needs design intervention. Of course, design won’t provide all of the answers. As Hunt says: “Designers tend to think in terms of massive, impactful change, and this may be a realm where incrementalism is more important than transformation. It is especially important for designers to listen first, and not just approach it like the hero looking to make change for change’s sake.”

Designers should tread carefully, with humility, but not without purpose:

“Designing for the end of life is not something venal or style-driven. It is a deeply human need to wrestle with a profound moment in our social relationships.”

It’s difficult to make out really, but I think they mean that we should all wear hipster glasses as we die.

8 thoughts on “On the Design Council”

  1. Oscar Wilde was in a duel to the death with the hotel wallpaper which won. Maybe we keep designers away?

  2. Always hard to tell with such people, but they may have a good point there. Have you seen what e.g. zimmer frames look like? There’s a hell of a lot of room for improvement in the design of the stuff we force on the very elderly and dying.

  3. That shows a typically British approach – stop reading when the word “design” appears. If it’s not bodged together, it can’t possibly be any good.

  4. Seems to be from my reading of the article that designers have a bigger sense of importance than reality dictates.

    While they might have a point about tubes and equipment around you when you die not being nice, I think they are wrong to say that its bad that they have replaced religious symbols. High tech medical equipment are the new religious symbols.

    As for the other stuff, what’s the difference between them and inventors. Not much. And how many inventions go no where, either because they are useless or because they aren’t appropriate for the time. Same is true for the designer’s products, most are useless.

    The designers think that just because they can design something, that it will solve all the world’s problems.

    It’s the same in my field in engineering. Many engineers think that they tech can solve a problem when in many cases the problem doesn’t exist.

  5. Not just the Design Council. Note the fact that the event was organised by MacMillan and Marie Curie who received substantial wodges of HMG cash.

    I’m furious at this. Tax cash plus money from sponsored walks and coffee mornings for fat-arsed medics (who should be seeing patients) and the Fat-Women-In-Scarves (usually failed nurses who can’t hack patient care) who engage in these vacuous talking shops. Meanwhile they’ll all cry austerity.

  6. @Rodney

    “That shows a typically British approach – stop reading when the word “design” appears. If it’s not bodged together, it can’t possibly be any good.”

    Typical anti Brit racism – would you write ‘That shows a typically African approach – stop reading when the word “design” appears. If it’s not bodged together, it can’t possibly be any good.’?

    Maybe you would and you’d be more correct if you did, but ‘typically British’ designs of note include Times New Roman, Georgian architecture, Rolls Royce cars, the Spitfire, Chippendale furniture, the iPod, The English countryside, the mini skirt… I could go on.

    Point is this bird is talking shite, on our dime, not that design per se is a bad thing.

  7. Bloke in Costa Rica

    If the Conservatives were serious about actual cuts then shit this is the ultimate in low-hanging fruit. It’s not the headline budget figure that’s important, but that all these organisations act like cysts where the Leftist infection can linger. Much more harm would be prevented by killing off, say, the Arts Council than the nugatory £500 million a year it takes to fund it would suggest. Of course that this is not happening lends the lie to Cameron’s claims. The two biggest blows that he could have struck at the organisational and funding base of the Islingtonista Left are ceasing to advertise government jobs in the Guardian and breaking up the BBC. He won’t do either. Oh, there’s talk of the license fee being under heavy scrutiny in the coming ‘review’, but even Whittingdale is talking about decades to shift it. Bollocks. You could do it in six months: strip it of its charter, flog off its copyrights to the highest bidder—or repudiate them altogether—and open up the RF and cable spectrum they were using to the normal auction process. They’re not serious.

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