Of component parts whether they be static or in

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of component parts, whether they be static or in motion, which produce a single object or a system; to be prepared to distinguish between those objects and relationships which are aesthetically acceptable and those which fall below our personal standards. Design, as Maholy Nagy said in the late 1920s, is an attitude of mind, to which I would add, and the capacity for tactile and visual discernment. But concern for the condition of our environment and the capacity (or assumed capacity) for aesthetic discrimination do not in themselves produce a designer. Concern without the capacity for implementing change is the role of the consumer as critic; to work as a designer, technical skills and experience are essential requirements. The need to master complex techniques separates designers into fields of specialization architecture, engineering, graphic communication, the design of products for the industries based on the ancient crafts, and into many sub-divisions of these principal fields. To be a designer, in the sense that I am now using this generic term, requires not only the skills, but also the willingness to deploy them for the improvement of the environment, rather than its desecration. To this extent design is, or should be, a moral act undertaken within the constraints of the political, economic and social systems. It is a practical art, and as such different from the arts of painting, sculpture, literature and music, which can transcend the immediate present and open windows to ecstasy. The fine arts, as Modrian has said, enable those who look at, or listen to, their manifestations to be conscious of the union of the individual with the universe. They have been described by your American philosopher Susanne Langer as the creation of forms symbolic of human feeling. Design operates at a more mundane level; its concern is with man as a living, mutating, organizing and dying entity. It is here that the business executive s interests and mine, as a designer, coincide. The executive is involved in the structure of society and so am I. His desire is to improve the physical condition of millions of our fellow human beings who inhabit the world and the quality of our lives, and this equates 66 Traditions and Origins of Design Management with the ambition of all designers who have escaped despair and enervating pessimism. Business is becoming a profession, design is achieving professional authority. It is now necessary to establish a basis for understanding and co-operation so that the business executive can harness design skills to further our common purpose. I have
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deliberately used the word harness, as the initiative must come from management. A designer without a client is as impotent as an actor declaiming to an empty theatre.
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