Main | Call to Action: Endorse Redesigning America's Future »

January 03, 2009


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Peter  Wooding

I, Peter Wooding, am pleased to support the U.S. National Design Policy Initiative and the Redesigning America's Future ten policy proposals. I am currently the Design Director of my own firm and an adjunct faculty member at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). I am a past President of the IDSA (Industrial Designers Society of America) and I strongly believe in the value of good design. I have testified before a congressional committee on the value of design in our country and in our world. Design brings benefits to end users, manufacturers, merchandisers and the world economy as a whole. Value comes to all by making things better and safer-- performing better, looking better and doing so in an environmentally responsibly way. We need to continue to maintain our competitive position in the world and good design is a very strong ingredient in the equation. As design problem solvers we should be engaged at every level in a global initiative so that everyone can benefit.

My senators are Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse. My representative is Patrick Kennedy.

Peter Wooding. FIDSA, ASID
Providence, RI

Ken Erickson

We may not always know good from evil,
Not on the face of it.
And there may always be obloquy for commerce,
Even just on the face of it.
But designers and anthropologist alike
Can try to do good, and be good, in commerce
And in our anthropological and design practice.

My hat is off to Dori for taking this good step.

Ken Erickson


Dear Doug,

Thank you for your comment. The statement Design is the world remade in human form does not at all imply what you are stating. The statement is specifically anthropological.

The task of remaking can take various forms and have various outcomes depending on the value system of the humans.

As humans, we have adapted the world to fit our needs at times harmoniously with nature, currently, as you state, with disastrous results.

But thank you for raising the importance of sustainable practices and you will find it included in the Redesigning America's Future policy proposals.

Warm regards,

Dori Tunstall

Doug Anderson

You state that "Design is the world remade in human form."

That statement is designed (intentionally or unintentionally) to promote a human-centric, "dominion over the earth" perspective. That point of view has led us far down a path to extinction of not only vast numbers of other species but toward extinction of homo sapiens. It has also contributed to the greed-based, short-term-profit-driven transformation of people into mere consumers and the widespread attendant unhappiness in the world.

We can no more remake the world than we could make it in the first place. We've evolved long enough to gain large brains but are not as wise as we are smart.

I suggest that design is the imagining of a better world and implementing design ought to be moving forward for the planet as a whole - not just for those who stand to profit from it in their lifetimes.

How can we, as designers, influence application of resources to designs that sustainably improve existence for the whole person, for the whole of personkind, for the biosphere and the planet as a whole? That is the strategic challenge for design.

Each design exercise ought to generate some progress toward that end.

I've done business school. I realize that we need to generate value and make a living. Commerce is also essential to a significant degree. However, it is not the highest expression of human culture. It is not the premier source of human happiness and well-being.

The world is complex and human nature is manifold. Understanding that, our designs ought to appeal to the best rather than the worst in people. I think it's worth a try.

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