“Design is distinctly exclusive and democratically inclusive; uniquely crafted and industrially mass-produced; artistically innovative and formally conventional. It is perceptible aesthetic and instrumentally functional. Design describes unique creation and mass consumption, artistic experimentation and methodological processes. It is an approach to providing services, promotes innovation in processes, and is an organizational resource.
Today, it has become natural to understand design as inherent in, if not everything, then quite a lot. Design is discussed and used in multiple contexts, numerous ways, and both content and scale. The term covers a myriad of topics, places, and objects and processes. This professional extension raises questions about what design is and can be today. And how the design concept has evolved in line with its success and what role it plays in the designers’ professional practice. How are society and professional design impacted by the fact that e.g. complicated social processes have become design matters and that e.g. Harvard Business Review and McKinsey are beginning to write newsletters about design as “the new black” in management? What does it say about our time that precisely now the design concept is undergoing such profound revisions?
These are questions that I’m concerned with in my research and in the auspices of the Danish Design Council. Currently, I am involved in a project in the council, where we discuss the design concept in a Danish context. The aim of the project is to look at whether it is possible to identify some basic common features – a Danish design DNA? And in that case, what is it constituted by? Do we still profit on our glorious past or are we designing for the future? The project is a platform for several initiatives with different themes discussing the challenges and investigating the current status and potential future paths of Danish design.
Associate professor at KADK, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design. Head of the diploma programme in Design Management at KADK. Author of several books and research articles about design and design related topics. Editor and founder of the journal Artifact – an international peer review journal of design, Intellect Books.