Some similarities between the worlds of music and design.
The other day I ran into this website: designtunes.org and it got me thinking about the similarities between the music and design worlds. This website showcases remixes based on (pseudo) famous quotes from top designers. Entertaining indeed, and if you ask me a very subtle way of mockery to the design sphere.
The world of commercial design it’s not so different from the one of commercial music. Just as pop musicians, some designers also grow with the ambition of becoming like their idols; that is to design famous objects, receiving awards and making apparitions in front of big applauding audiences (and so on).
Just as teenage musicians, young designers group themselves in boutiques, studios, consultancies (using this or any other term in vogue) with the ambition of earning a living and recognition. A good commission might be similar to being booked for an important gig; a post in a renowned blog could be also the equivalent to a couple of thousand plays from a band’s new song in soundcloud.
I would say that this has its roots basically in two factors, the increasing popularity of the design craft and the type of recognition that it claims to receive. Today it’s just as easy for a teen to grab a computer and create a good tune as it is to create a kick ass looking animation. This comes with a subtle promise to some people: fame is at your reach. Perhaps this is partly the root why famous designers are treated by the media more or less like rockstars, which is not necessarily bad, but it’s certainly too much.
The world of design has it’s own parallel version of rockstars and dj-idols in the form of designstars and young talents. They perform as well, not giving concerts (though some do) but by giving speeches, making pavilions and disclosing products. This sometimes with just as much marketing effort as Coldplay does with every new album.
The world of design has its own Justin Biebers just as it has its own Nicolas Jaars. Talent is definitely out there, but fabricated crap also is.
For the ones that are not only interested in the fame and recognition, for the ones that still want to make a difference in the world of design… Just as a musician, you have to open your eyes and realize the name and rules of the game.
It seems to me that the attention in the design world sometimes leans too much on the big and famous names. A certain kind of speech is beginning to smell like rotten. There are too many people trying to come up with disruptive stuff (and actually making it), but in comparison, too little attention and money is being allocated to them.
It would be fantastic to have a design-like Nirvana office/consultancy/collective. An entity that could make awesome, true stuff while slapping in the face of the medium that praises it… Possible? I don’t know… but I would certainly be a groupie.
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