Happy Days and a Different Angle

What does optimism and “walking in someone else’s shoes” mean for the design industry? As designers in a lifetime that is trying to change do we have optimism about our own future in design and sustainability? Our jobs involve designing spaces for others but do we are legislative or interpretive designers; do we have empathy for our clients and their needs? These were many topics that I found to be interesting during this week’s readings and discussions.

The TED speech “The Optimism Bias” brought a new and interesting view on optimism and the future of sustainability for me. This speech related closely to the reading “The Futurists” and refereed to have a future consciousness. We as designers and as a world as a whole need to have optimism about the future of sustainability; we need to envision a future with a focus on sustainability (a healthier world as a whole) and strive to achieve that vision.

Empathy…it’s a hard concept to understand, especially in the idea of design.  I had never heard of a legislative or interpretive designer until this week’s reading and really didn’t understand it. But these terms do make a lot of sense; legislative is idea that they are right and know best while interpretive designers have empathy for their clients and try to design to their desires. These two terms put a whole new outlook on design for me not only in basic design and in sustainability; we should consider what consumers what/need from sustainable products so that they will be products that consumers will purchase and use.

So the real question now is how do we actually achieve these outcomes? How do we shift product development and design to more closely meet the needs of consumers? Designing products for mass amounts of individuals doesn’t exactly work and it leads to over production of products that are purchased. So how do we start to design products for specific “groups” of individuals- to limit the waste of resources through overproduction and still keeping with the ideal of sustainability by not create too wide of a spectrum of products (which could be just as bad as mass overproduction).  Most importantly, how do we create a vision of a sustainable world so that consumers can have an optimistic for the future and an actual desire to move towards sustainability?

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