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Role Of Design In Society
The way we understand design and the role of a designer in the contemporary society is an outcome of industrial revolution which led to mechanisation of the workforce through the use of machinery. The design as a specialised field of activity has evolved over a period of time. However, apart from its industrial role we now discuss design within the ambit of cultural, social and economic phenomena where the designer plays a significant role.
Therefore, design could be understood as a form of human intervention to make our surroundings more hospitable–the denominators of which are arbitrary and change from context to context.
To look at the world from the point of view of a graphic designer, we can develop a visual metaphor for our world within which a graphic designer operates. Since it’s a visual metaphor one sees the world made up of dots, lines, shapes, spaces and so on. As humans we occupy space – physical, mental and virtual. All our interactions take place within these spaces, be it institutional, natural, cultural, sacred, public or private.
Designers experience space not as a mere canvas, but as a dynamic entity waiting to be creatively filled. As aheterogeneous entity already layered with concepts, ideas and formulations that is central to the idea of ‘creativity’— urban/ rural, ritualistic/secular, utopian/heterotrophic, public or the private.
So a space is always creative and so to say “designed”. And we as occupants of that space are always subjected to those designs. We as individual or groups or as members of the society are the occupants of this space as well as users of these designs. Design is everywhere. It is around us in various forms such as zebra crossings, barricades, road signs, rituals, and so on. Design, in the contemporary society is all pervasive, an omnipresent phenomenon. We easily associate design with popular media of correspondence like advertisements, various forms of entertainments, TV serials, pamphlets, posters, signage, and hoardings.
But have we ever tried to find out why modern cities are designed say in the form of a grid or the kind of drills we go through in a physical education period or say the paraphernalia of security barriers, surveillance cameras or the array of bumpers in front of ministerial places and government offices? Can we see graphic or visual patterns in all of them? All of these present before us certain sets of information through various signs and symbols.
These designs not only serve the purpose passively and mechanically but there are many layers of hidden meanings associated with them. Since a graphic designer is a creator of such designs, one is expected to understand what is hidden underneath the surface, understand the functions of design and their impact and implications at surface level as well as at various levels of human existence.
Functions of Design
Design has manifold applications and usages ranging from the most obvious or surface-level usages to the most subtle and indirect usages that have far-reaching and deeper level impact. The significance of design lies in its ability to fulfil these demands whether aesthetic, telelogical or semiotic. By aesthetics, it is broadly understood as its sensory and beauty values i.e. concerned with the judgment of visual taste, here it is meant as the sensory appreciation of graphic design.
While by functionality it is meant that the practical aspects of a given graphic design such as usability, communicability, readability and making an impact and its efficiency lies in its ability to do so. Design has function as well as some purpose. In theoretical terms ability of design to fulfil the function or purpose is called ‘teleology’ of design. Apart from the above two, there is one more aspect of design called ‘content’ or meaning of design that can be broadly called as semiotic value of design.
A simple discussion might elaborate this case food has taste that caters to our taste buds which is a sensory quality of food. Sometimes the colour of food is attractive therefore we like it and some other times we get attracted towards it because it is arranged in a beautiful manner. Aroma, taste and decoration or garnishing cater to our sensory expectations.
Food also has nutritional value that is concerned with supplying energy to the body that helps in its overall physical growth and maintenance of general health and work efficiency and at times such food may not be visually attractive. Now if the food is cooked by a mother, sister or wife, then it has a special meaning and highly personal significance attached to it. At times it may not be nutritious and properly decorated. Still the food will have its own unique significance which is the semiotic value of the food.
1. According to you, why is it important for a graphic designer to create designs keeping in mind the cultural ethos of the society?
2. What are the three aspects of design? Explain with the help of your own examples.
3. Why is it important that a design consists of all three aspectsaesthetic, teleology and semiotics?
4. In your opinion what would happen if the design is functional but not aesthetic.
5. Write your views on all pervasiveness of design.
6. In the contemporary scenario a Graphic designer be a specialist or a generalist. Give your views.
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