When high schoolers are starting uni applications and deciding what to do with the rest of their lives, there is a real culture of choosing "useful" jobs or jobs which make you a lot of money. There is a "starving artist" stereotype and some people don't consider creative arts a legitimate profession.
I wondered if this was true for a while, because a lot of art and design is simply about bringing joy to people. But there's more to it than that. As I've realised more and more as I've got older, bad design - whether it's graphic, web, interior, product, fashion, or industrial - can make everyday experiences frustrating, whereas good design can add tangible benefits to people's quality of life.
Here are 10 ways design is impacting your everyday life (yes, right now):
Are you sitting on a chair? Is it comfortable? Thank a designer. Is it backless, hard and with no support? Curse a designer.
Many people spend the bulk of their days sitting in offices to do their work. This has serious health risks, and has been termed "the new smoking". The quality of your chair, desk and computer design and arrangements can make a big difference to your health. Simply getting a sit-stand desk can prevent workplace injuries and keep you healthier. Thank designers for this innovation.
2. Searching the web
We are so privileged with the internet. We take internet browsing, online shopping, and research for granted, and we don't realise this until we come across a bad website.
You've probably encountered them before - the ones where you can't find where you need to click, where the writing is too small, where they've tried so hard to be fancy but all their popups are blocking key bits of info you need. Maybe the sign-up page is hidden away in a tiny tab four links deep. Maybe the online payment portal resets you right back to the start of a form if you get one number on your card wrong.
Thank/curse web designers for that one.
3. Buying a house
Do you want to buy a house which looks like a brown brick, is segmented all wrong so that there's no privacy, lets sunlight into the house at precisely the wrong time (or not at all) and has a backyard which looks like a garbage dump?
No? Why not? It's not fun to live in and it decreases the value of the property.
Thank good designers for good houses. Architects, landscapers, interior designers.
You can thank designers for many of the innovations which allow us to cook conveniently and safely. The simple cupcake patty liner means you don't need to grease your trays, can easily remove baked cupcakes once cooked and have an instantly cute decoration with zero effort. The invention of non-stick cookware was a gamechanger and means less oils need to be used in the kitchen. What about that washing up sponge that squeezes out detergent by itself? All awesome. All thanks to industrial and product design (and scientists, and engineers - credit where it's due).
Designers know how people's eyes work, how colours affect moods and how the artistic elements used in labelling or marketing can draw in customers or scare them away. Without a designer, you will have a harder time drawing people into your business - whether it's a simple clothing boutique or a law firm.
6. Film and television
A no-brainer. What would your life be like without film and TV? Thank production designers, costume designers, effects designers, animators and CGI artists. Also take a moment to thank the not-strictly-design-but-still-creative jobs like directors, scriptwriters, actors, and score writers. If everyone chose the "useful" jobs instead of pursuing creative arts, the world would be pretty dull.
Thank a fashion designer for your ability to look professional at work or impress at an event. It's really as simple as that.
Here's a controversial one: stethoscopes, needles and syringes, life-support machines, reclining beds, and dental tools all had to be designed by someone and refined for best patient outcomes. There is a whole profession called medical device designers who create and improve medical equipment used by doctors, nurses and health professionals to save lives. Adding a day-by-day layout on your medicine packaging even helps you to remember to take it conveniently and safely, which is especially important people who need to remember their daily medication because they are elderly, on birth control, or prescribed to antidepressants. Thank a designer.
Thank industrial designers for your shiny red Ferrari or your family-sized car. Thank the people who implement research to design safer vehicles as the years go by. Adding rear-view cameras, developing seatbelts, and putting airbags in are all collaborations between design and engineering. After all - if it's not designed properly, it won't work properly.
All books need to be typeset and printed. The way a book - whether a novel or a textbook - is laid out can seriously increase or decrease its readability. Next time you open a book, notice how there's a fairly thick border at the edge of the page - this gives you space to put your thumb without blocking the text. You might also like to thank designers for segmenting your textbook into readable sections, and adding photos to space out the heavy writing - something that will help you memorise it better in the long run. You might like to thank a designer for helping you achieve your good grades and high subsequent income.
Can you think of any more ways design has improved your everyday life? Discuss in the comments!