With great power comes great responsibility

As designers we have huge power. Something I didn’t realise when I first got into the industry. I knew I wanted to do graphic design, and very quickly realised that I wanted to do what I always felt passionate about, create positive change, except now I would was picking up a tool to help me. It was only when I really dived into the design world that I understood just how much of a rich culture it holds, and powerful minds it’s encountered. I use powerful because I think it’s more important then the word genius or talented. Those things are nothing without power. And from what I understand power is gained when you use genius or talent to change something, to influence someone to do something great.

Power is the ability to do good things for others-  Brooke Astor

The idea of using design to change important things is obviously in no way a new one. But today I wanted to say that it’s not just that design can do this and does so all over the world, it’s that it should. It has a responsibility.

I starting thinking about this when Lauren Currie, a service designer part of the hugely successful partnership ‘SNOOK’ came to talk to us a few weeks ago. She was a hugely inspirational speaker, but one thing in perticual stuck with me. I was caught by the idea of designers being ‘Guilty by Association’. She claimed that if design has a bad name, it’s because there is still bad design out there and it’s our responsibility to fix it. We’re the only ones who can.

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It’s in this context that I’m talking about responsibility. Doing good doesn’t always mean fighting poverty and solving world starvation (as phenomenal as those things are) it could be as simple as designing a good app that improves someone’s quality of life somewhere. To me, right now doing good means learning what makes good design, learning to use my tool. I’ll see in a few decades time what I’ve crafted with it and what effect it has had.