The first step in improving design standards is for

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The first step in improving design standards is for management to decide that it wishes to do so. From this board room decision much good can flow, both in financial returns to the company and for society as a whole. I have already suggested that design is an attitude of mind. This must permeate management if more is to be achieved than the purchase of some paintings for the President s dining room and the commissioning of a mural for the staff cafeteria admirable though such patronage may be. Design is inevitably an aspect of many facets of business organization. All business executives are committed to the employment of designers, the only variant being that some are conscious of what they are doing and others somnambulistic. Design exists in the company letter heading, its trade symbol, the livery of its delivery vans, its factory and administration buildings, the furniture and tableware in its staff and executive dining rooms, in the products of its factories and the containers in which they are marketed. It is impossible to be in business without making a commitment to design; even a stockbroker has a corporate identity, while those who manufacture products or provide services are dependent on buyers reactions for their existence. The techniques for employing and co-operating with architects and graphic designers by enlightened management are well understood. I regret only that good intention does not more commonly achieve exemplary results. This is the fault of educational systems throughout the world, a world in which visual literacy and the cultivation of FIGURE 4.1 Large-scale industrial catering. The staff restaurant for BP Limited. Designers: Design Research Unit, London. The Designer and Manager Syndrome 67 aesthetic discrimination are sacrificed to undue concentration on the development of intellectual faculties. To compensate for their hereditary cataract, management should, during this intermediate period, look for wise counsel to support or question their aesthetic predilections. Such counsellors now exist in the United States and in Great Britain but they should be selected with the care and attention equal to that which characterizes management selection of chartered accountants and lawyers. The role of the third type of designer required by production industries is less well understood. The function of the industrial designer is still too often envisaged as a luxury which can be employed or discarded at the whim of management. The industrial designer s specialization is two-pronged. Its first manifestation is based on anthropology and ergonomics. It is concerned with the relationship of the users or operators to artifacts or machines, be they simple domestic or office appliances, complex machine
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tools, agricultural equipment or control systems. It is the aspect of engineering design that determines whether a hand tool is properly shaped and balanced to ensure maximum efficiency in operation, whether the refinement of kitchen appliances is reasonably
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