8 Oct 2013


Someone talked about designers being in/compatible in a presentation last week and that's something that resonates. Probably not in the sense of compatible or incompatible opinions or styles, but in the type of design or contextual environment. Incompatibility arises when we have dissimilar definitions for what design is and what it covers.

For instance, I was at 100% Design in September and "incompatible" is an apt term for describing my experience. It was my first time there, but immediately it was clear that their presentation of 'design' was different to mine. It felt like I had simply walked into the wrong room, like a carpenter finding himself (or herself) in the gardening section at Homebase. The majority of stands consisted of only salesmen and 'corporate types' who I am 100% sure are not what I call designers – perhaps not the "100%" theme they were going for.

But bearing in mind this is the biggest LDF event of them all, you have to wonder how it can be so incompatible to someone like myself, a student and enthusiast of design. Perhaps I am just a minority, and to most people this is how design translates. It's always been a terrifying notion that people don't really know what design is, which opens up so many more questions and fears. If it's true that for most people, the general public, our (that is, designers') supposed target audience in most cases, can attend a trade show like 100% Design and think that that's what design is, it raises big issues for us who find it incompatible. I've come through two years of studying Design at Goldsmiths, believing that design affects everything, relates to everything and ultimately is everything, but for that to apparently be such a niche is surely a concern, a contradiction.

Referring back to the original presentation that this topic was mentioned (sorry I can't remember who's), compatibility is rather vital in finding people to work with, whether that be employers, partners or whatever else – we have to be compatible in our work and our direction, which is actually quite obvious. We all want to be with people on the same wavelength, that 'get' each other. But I'm not sure it's just a case of matching personalities or getting along as mates; I think it's something deeper into our belief systems and outlooks on life.

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