By Guest Blogger Brian Tenorio
John Maeda, in his book The Laws of Simplicity (The MIT Press, 2006), said design could take on one of three strategies: shrink, hide, or embody. While this may be significant these days as we churn out simpler, smaller, and more task-oriented devices and products, we are still creating new things. The new generation iPod meant to replace the older generations will do exactly that, replace the older units – still more stuff.
The Designs that Displace Desire (DDD) forum is a platform for discussing design solutions that encourage less consumption and emphasize the lasting value of existing items. Designs that Displace Desire is definitely not about poorly designed products that make you not want to buy. DDD is actually effective design that promotes thought, careful reflection, and a satisfaction or happiness in discovering new value in currently owned products. It can be a new use for an item that presents itself in a time-determined manner: for example, jeans that just look better after you’ve had them so long that they are worn out, eventually becoming irreplaceable. In fact, thinking about it, that may be one of the best examples of DDD.
So are we tasked here to think of how to design nothing or to stop designing? Not really. The goal is to create designs or experiences that stop us from constantly wanting other things.
In summation, since design can drive desire and consumption, it also has the ability to provide long-term satisfaction. The idea is not really about doing more with less, but doing more with what we’ve already got. Also while this call-for-comments may seem to be propaganda for anti-consumerism, it is primarily a call for excellence in design. Designs that determine satisfaction and contentment are about focusing on what we have and what we have acquired and not what we are denying ourselves.
What is total quality management? What is worse-is-better? What is value-creation? What is recycling? How will the economy be affected if non-consumption becomes popular (as it is not yet the case)? Why buy? Why not not buy?
Please leave comments and thoughts about DESIGNS DISPLACING DESIRE here or e-mail them to: firstname.lastname@example.org. From your comments we shall produce a more substantial article that discusses designs that stop at nothing.
Tehran-born, Filipino-American BRIAN TENORIO is a New York-based designer, multi-awarded in print and graphic design, business and entrepreneurship, and recently in accessories design (his label was included in the 2008 book 50 Must Buys in Manila). A former correspondent of Benetton’s COLORS Magazine, Tenorio finished the Managing the Arts Program at the Asian Institute of Management. One of Manila’s most influential and widely-publicized creatives, Brian Tenorio is currently with the Design Management Program of Pratt Institute. Visit his blog, Only Superlatives, at http://briantenorio.blogspot.com.