Technology and the role of the designer

22 September 2014
Juliette Hocquigny
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Last week, London hosted the Global Design forum. Sessions were held at different venues, from the V&A to the Mallett.

The overall aim of the events was to discuss and debate the role of design in today’s world and its part in an ever-changing environment as a result of digital transformations.

It is important to distinguish the purpose of the designer from the one of the artist.

A true artist can enjoy complete inspirational and executional freedom. The artist is not accountable to anyone - apart of course from the funders/ sponsors.

On the contrary, the designer offers creative skills as a service to users/customers.


The designer’s intention is to improve our lifestyle and imagine better ways of doing things. Everything we use, everything we wear was designed. To that extent, everything that was conceived around us was touched by design.

The use of technology by designers was a very hot topic during the Global Design Forum 2014.

Taking into account that '70% of people become stressed when they can not access the internet, digital technology has become a major part of peoples lives and most say they can’t live without it either it being to socialize or when they are working. Even when people are not working they admit to carry on working 24/7.’ According to Kayleigh Maho, '62% of people believe that technology has changed their lives forever.' (http://kayleighmahon.wordpress.com/2012/10/20/literature-review-the-impact-of-digital-technologies-on-the-graphic-design-practice/), the way of pleasing the user changed so did the mission of the designer. 

The endless opportunities offered to designers boost their creativity and reduce the gap between the desired end state of a project and the actual state.

The number of tools available to them has drastically increased over the last few years. The spectrum of impossibilities shrunk in the same proportion.

The challenge is to keep in mind that the goal is to improve the ultimate experience and not to use the technology for the sake of it. No matter how innovative the technology can be, it has to deliver the desired experience.

The technology used by the designer is only a means to an end that is evolving everyday, and is an inspirational source for the creatives. Design students will have very different opportunities when they enter the workplace compared to what is now available during their school days. This is why they have to focus on learning how to better understand the customers and how to deliver what they expect, the means to deliver the experience will expand.

As an example, 3D printing which is revolutionising the lives of the designers is still a very long and expensive process. Within a few years, the experience will be revamped and it will optimise the way designers work, perceive, mock-up and build items.

This Global Design Forum shed light on the challenges faced by the design industry. The insights on how to improve customer experience were incredibly useful.

Looking forward attending more events and talks next year!