Designer as Catalyst by Max Bruinsma – Reading Response
Bruinsma begins with provoking question: "Do designers have a role in the creation of symbols for a culture, an ideology, a mentality? Are they, in short, co-authors of the 'visual text' in which a culture expresses itself? And if they are, does that make them co-responsible, as co-authors, for what is conveyed in that 'text'?" He divides designers into two strategies in approaching consumers: sedation and activation. Bruinsma calls forward a sense of responsibility as a designer, an "instrument of civil discourse." The designer is the catalyst; they can manipulate what the symbols mean, not necessarily make new symbols.
This notion of a designer as catalyst, and an "instrument of civil discourse," gives the designer a sense of responsibility. It still hinges on the current ideas of design (where the designer serves society), but adds a sense of mission. With the tools available, designers can manipulate meaning and are the mediators between the consumer and producer. Bruinsma implies that the designer is not the author, but the mediator of a message.
I agree with Bruinsma to some extent, however this definition of a designer is limiting in some ways. Like we read in the other articles, design is an act that everyone does: problem-solving. It is just an efficient, beneficial term to use. I have my own ideas of what a designer should do, but I don't know how to articulate it quite yet–though I seem to be losing my sense of design the further I get through this graphic design program...Anyhow, designers both paradoxically wield a lot of power, and also are powerless in a sense that designers are limited by the client, but they are the ones who control the output.
Now that we can do anything, what will we do? by Bruce Mau – Reading Response
The article is divided into statements of what a designer should do:
-We will explore design economies: look to economies of movement rather than looking at product design
-We will tap into the global commons: change is about the "promise of design. Design success equals global success."
-We Will distribute capacity: designers should raise discussions and critical thinking. The "future of global design is fundamentally collaborative."
-We will embrace paradox: there is truth in paradox
-We will reshape our future: designers have the power to begin reshaping the future
Mau seems to have a strong idea of what designers should do/should not do. To him, design is very much about being a global citizen, and using design for "massive change." Design does have this power, but I think these statements make design seem more of an act/tool/weapon?, than a way of expression and communication.