For years, I have been looking for examples of designers who occupy elected offices and have not discovered a single AIGA member even on an elected school board. And yet we talk about designers’ capacity for developing innovative solutions to complex problems.
The reason this seems so important is that we talk about the need for designers to be respected for the contribution they can make that goes well beyond stereotypes of designers as craftspeople. Yet, to earn that respect, it seems it would be important to demonstrate the power of a design mind in addressing community problems that concern those whose respect we seek—not just the general public, but also community leaders, business leaders and professionals who live where we live.
Isaiah Berlin is said to have defined political judgment as “a capacity for integrating a vast amalgam of constantly changing, multicolored, evanescent perpetually overlapping data.” Isn’t that what designers would claim is their special gift and competitive advantage?