How Design Influences the Way We Connect With the World Around Us
Do designers possess the power to change global mindsets? Design goes beyond the products we buy and the technology we use. It is a part of our daily lives, and without it, society would not function properly. So, what is the power of design? Take a look at how design influences how we think, behave and connect with the world around us.
Design Surrounds Us
Design surrounds us, from the laptop on your desk to the phone in your hand and the car you drive. It is an intrinsic part of our daily lives. It keeps us engaged with the world around us, and without it, we wouldn't be able to navigate life through physical and digital spaces.
For example, design communication in the digital space is changing our world every day, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic
. We've shifted our communication online with smartphones and various apps that keep us connected with our friends and the world around us. But design goes beyond the products we buy and the technology we use.
Design communicates, persuades and empowers our decision-making process.
From industrial, automotive to communication design, good designers have all understood the need to connect their creation back to the basics of human engagements. If it does not enhance our physical world or engage with us emotionally, it is nothing but ideas.
With the communication-based world we live in, designers – graphic or communication – have a much bigger influence
on the way we perceive the world, how we receive information, and what we do about it as a result.
With tools including heuristics
, language choices, and imagery, designers of all types can design a frame between a person and a message that influences the perception of reality
So, how can designers use these tools to communicate messages they care about and get others to care about them, too?
Design Shares Our Humanity
According to university professor and well-known designer Prof. Anna Berkenbusch, "the things we use, or design, are without any signification if they are not related to people." Designers must use their talent and skills to share our humanity (without the incentive of profits and business).
Designers showcase life. They're responsible for the visual outfits of our world, and that portrayal can be new and exciting. But it can also be real and important and a hold a mirror up to society to showcase both the good and the bad parts.
Design Brings People Together
Designers can use design as a lens to see and represent emotions and feelings of people all over the world. In response to the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, French graphic designer Jean Julien
designed a "Peace for Paris" symbol that he uploaded on his social media. The symbol went viral, with the whole world embracing its strong message of hope that helped a mourning world grieve through the pain together.
Design Can Grow Communities
Netherland-based designer Dave Hakkens
used his personal thoughts on plastic to create a bespoke recycling machine and tools that enabled him to turn plastic materials into something completely new. He took this initiative one step further by releasing the blueprint for the machine and tools to the globe online
, which grew a community of people doing the same, all in the fight against plastic pollution. Hakkens’ Precious Plastic
army is growing every day as more and more people commit to reducing their plastic waste.
Design Can Be an Activist
Activist designers use design as a tool for expression. The 2020 death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department sparked anti-racism protests across the US and the world. As a part of the protest, graffiti artists, muralists, and communities created road murals with the words "Black Lives Matter"
in unity for the Black lives lost at the hands of the police. Since then, these murals have become an important and well-known image in the Movement for Black Lives and have positively impacted raising awareness about the severity of this issue.
Design Can Grow Communities
As the world changes the way we live, designers must leave behind the definitions of graphic or communication design as it used to be. Design, as well as functional, needs to be more about changing the human community and showcasing issues or topics we care about in the hopes that others will care about them. That way, global mindsets can be changed, and designers can be the moderators to help that process.
Design influences the way we think, behave, and connect with the world around us. When designers use their skills to communicate issues they believe in, they can impact the world, and in turn, change global mindsets. Without them, who would hold a mirror up to society to showcase both the good and the bad parts?