This quote was on the back of the latest John Lewis catalogue, and I must say, I wholly agree with it; in fact it’s helped crystallise something that’s been drifting around the back of my head for the last few weeks. Apologies in advance for the little philosophical post that’s about to come, but hopefully this gives you a bit of insight into why I started this site, and what I will be writing about moving forward. It’s taken me a few months to figure it out.
Many consider design – whether it’s fashion, furniture or even our homes – to be frivolous and unnecessary. I am the first to admit that some design IS frivolous, or expensive purely because of the name stamped onto it. And some design is not great – it complicates instead of simplifies. It can be a trend that sparks and fades in a season, leaving behind lessons of failure instead of success. Sadly, when people hear the word ‘design’, this is often what springs to mind.
In fact, good design is the culmination of many things – creative vision, independent thought, mathematics, culture, craftsmanship, personality, reinvention, or celebration of our history; all this coming together in a way that makes life easier, different, or more pleasurable. And often, more beautiful.
I’ve been interviewing designers in the last few weeks and they’ve asked me why I spend hours outside of my day job at a computer screen. My answer is this:
I want to show people that design is more than an artform fit for museums, catwalks, or a career of colouring-in and air kisses. I’d like more people to know that architects, furniture designers, product, pack and brand designers shape the world we live in so subtly that we often don’t realise. I want more people to understand that design doesn’t stop at fashion; it stretches into the seats of buses, the streets we walk upon, and the way in which we open a box or a bottle. I want people to think about the forgotten trades. The craftsmen that are swiftly dying out in favour of standardised processes and machine efficiency. The beauty that may be lost in a few years time when no one knows how to pick up a paintbrush, or create something using marble, wood or leather. I want people to appreciate that good design takes time, rare talent, and costs money, but is absolutely worth the investment. Investing will pay dividends in making our homes, our cities, and our selves feel happier. More organised and ready to take on the world. More in touch with our surroundings and the cultures that we’ve grown from. In fact, I’d like people to see that design is our way of fashioning the future, whilst holding on to the important bits of our past.
So to help people see design in a different light (or to feed the imaginations of those who already do), I will be featuring designers on here, as and when I can. I will be talking about what inspires me, and why. I will be asking others what inspires them, as there is no right or wrong answer. I won’t be a voice for consumerism, but I will be a voice for the beautiful, the practical, and sometimes even the frivolous. I hope you enjoy it. And if you have something you’d like to add to the mix, I hope you do.