Designing for needs and wants

This week in Sustainability we discussed designing for needs and wants. We read an article for class called Design Activism that really made me think about designing with the consumer in mind. As a designer, you should design for “people, not profit”. Design with the user in mind, not how you are going to make money from it. Your design thinking should extend around the perimeter of the problem. If you design with this in mind you are more likely to create for the needs of the user and will make more money in the end. When designing with cost in mind, it is extremely important to design something that is easy to use and involves simple but effective technology. A person or even nation might not be able to afford the expensive upkeep of advanced technological equipment and so something simple to use and maintain. Although our nation does seem to have some of the wealthiest people in the world, not all the most critical design issues are found in developing countries. Although this article specifically addresses health care and obesity as an issue, we must also remember that although we have a highly developed country we also have poverty all around us and we must try to care for the people here as well as in other countries.
In class we very lightly touched on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs related to designing with sustainability in mind. I feel that we often categorize it in the self-actualization stage. This is because sustainability is a fairly young concept and we still think if it as a creativity and creating meaningfulness. Sometimes we think that sustainability is a nice plus to our purchases but we do not really consider it a necessity that affects our purchasing decisions. However, we are starting to realize that we should also classify it as safety and security. This has to do with the safety and security of the environment, that will directly impact our physical future safety and security. Of course the most important things to consider are in the physiological category, and that does not always accommodate a sustainable way of doing things. However, I think that we can use sustainability to design with these core needs in mind in a way that is both efficient and effective.

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