For a designer, a 'sudden economic downturn' can spell disaster. For many, we are a non essential item, something to be explored in times of plenty, and dumped when the belts are heaved in. But I have tended to take (and indeed cling to) another view, so it was with interest I read Stephen Bayley's article in last Sunday's Observer review supplement.
Firstly I liked the phrase he used for our 'sudden economic downturn' - 'straitened times'. How much nicer is that? Instead of the pessimism of the CC phrase which grates on the ear, this implies that we were on a wiggly path to nowhere (which is somewhat true), and we are now entering a time of being more efficient and with a brighter future. I like it.
And I was glad when I read the rest of the article as it solidified my yearnings - there is hope for design, it just needs to be more relevant than ever. But not in a fashion sense. In a true-to-the- rest-of-the-world-as-well-as-yourself-and-your-client sense.
As Mr Bayley so eloquently puts it:
' The great thing about our new constraints is that both mediocrity and excess are now intolerable. Quality in architecture and design will, however, make everyone better off.'
Companies are realising that the times of bling, glitz and luxury are to be replaced with a more honest, pared down and humble life. To not do so would spell disaster as we are all becoming repulsed with visual showerings of cash which nobody has any more.
So take heart all you designers out there. Ensure you are producing excellently conceived, relevant design and not excessive crap and you will stand a much better chance of being ok. Designers will always be needed as long as we are relevant to our times.
PS - if you want a bit of a related chuckle, look also at this article. Sir Terence Conran looks as though he has said something rude to Kirsty Allsopp (who has got a good blush on) and Phillipe Starck is reeling in shock...