From what I’ve read in the last two weeks I’ve learned this much: design is like water, it comes in a variety of quality and clarity, in abundance or scarcity, both under valued and under appreciated at the same time.
Design is everywhere, it’s talked about everywhere, it’s for sale everywhere, it’s practiced everywhere. It is ingrained in global culture from street signs to home interiors, newspapers to product packaging.
Design as a verb is overused everywhere, even in places where a proper vocabulary would mandate the use of a different descriptor.
I, myself, design websites while She Who Is to Be Adored and Cherished designs distillation facilities for jet fuel. My mother-in-law designs interiors of hotels, while my father-in-law has designed an environmentally sound process for extracting oil out of the ground. The word is ubiquitous and while correctly applicable to each of these trades does nothing but water-down its meaning.
It’s an overexposed word in an instant message, Target-ad-campaign world. And as long as that word continues to be beat into the ground we’ll get statements like: “You’re a designer? Oh, so am I! Got Canonical?”
Of course much of this has to do with problems in the education of design. We used to let universities and colleges certify the educated and expert but now that’s left to “design things” like Photoshop and IKEA and Apple and blog software.