Is design for me?
As a designer, I have often felt that my design work was not good enough, that it wasn't ‘good design’. It wasn’t until recently that I began to understand where these feelings of doubt may have arisen.
My first exposure to ‘the world of design’ was at high school where I learnt about the likes of David Carson and Neville Brody. Not too impressed, I decided pretty early on that the design world wasn't really for me. All the strict rules and design-y ‘in jokes’ just masked what I now understand to be forms of implicit bias towards western design ideologies and in turn a lack of accessibility for minority groups.
The distinction between good and bad design can be attributed to working within the design principles and understanding their technical uses. So, why is ‘good design’ such a western dominated space? Perhaps it is because of the western dominated industry and education systems it operates within. How can it truly be ‘good design’, if design is visual communication and it is only communicating with one group of people?
At times working towards a solution can seem dire. What I have found important is making an active choice to care about the connection between the designer, their work, and their audience. In doing this your intent centers around understanding and analysing who a designer is designing for and whether or not this has inclusivity limitations. Basically, we should care if the people making the stuff care.
As I learn to shake and challenge dominant western design formats and ways of thinking, I can't help but reflect on the current structure of our design education system. Are we doing enough to present diverse and inclusive design ideals to our student designers? Are we playing into dominant structures or teaching people to think beyond this? If I had been presented with designers that looked and thought like me in high school, would I think design was for me too?
Decentering Whiteness in Design History Resources