Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Article: Design Gets More Diverse

"Economically, design was defined by standardization, and the need to exploit economies of scale by making huge quantities of the same things.

Design is becoming more eclectic, but surprisingly slowly in some respects. Digital technology has eroded the economic benefits of standardization. And design increasingly reflects the cultural diversity both of its established Western markets and expanding ones in Asia, Africa and Latin America, where a new generation of designers is emerging. Those designers are defining their own approaches, which are influencing their peers elsewhere.

Designers of color are benefiting from these changes, not least because design is largely a meritocratic profession. It is tough for everyone, especially at the top. No designer secures a sought-after job like Mr. Boateng’s, or coveted international commissions like Mr. Burks’s, without talent, courage, charisma and determination, but they do tend to be judged on performance.

“Of course some inequality still exists, but I’ve never personally felt discriminated against,” Mr. Burks said. “I would hope that the color of my skin doesn’t change the way people see my work, or in any way change the voice or impact my work can have.”

“I really haven’t encountered any problems,” Ms. Anderson added. “When I worked at The Boston Globe way back, someone at the front door asked if I was a messenger. I thought: ‘Are you kidding?’ Every person of color has ridiculous stories like that. But I don’t think the creative industries focus on the color issue as much as others may. It’s all about talent and your ability to communicate effectively.”"

NYTimes Article by Alice Rawsthorn

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