How to raise the level of the debate on design and highlight the real value of design?
Many of us have a personal relationship with design. Media and people mostly have something to say when big companies change their name or logo, whether it concerns the money that was spent or the design. This was the case with Statoil/Equinor, NSB/Vy and recently when Oslo Municipality changed the signage at the old Norwegian sports stadium in Oslo, Bislett Stadium, with the city's new visual identity. Most people don't like change. Many are quick to fire off emotional reactions, like “ugly”, “horrible”, “hopeless”.
Here are examples of some heated quotes from the debate about design that erupted about the new signage at Bislett Stadium:
"What idiot at the municipality thought this was a good idea?", writes Twitter user E-rland.
"This is damn well the worst thing I've ever seen", writes another Twitter user.
"The old sign at Bislett was fine, and I understand that people think it's stupid to change it ", says City Councillor for Culture and Sports, Rina Mariann Hansen (Ap), in her comment in the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten 14 May 2020.
Designers can provide professional arguments and influence how people think and talk about design, not just as something visual, but problem-solving, strategy and process that leads to user-friendly and environmentally friendly products and services, value creation – and in the best case, innovation.
Seven tips for a better design debate:
Get to know the issue before you make a statement.
Read the comment section on social media, look for links.
Do research. Who designed it? What is the background? Possibilities/limitations?
If possible, take a tour. See it with your own eyes.
Are there professional arguments for/against?
Can you elucidate/add anything new, otherwise let be?
You might say something positive, even if the debate is negative.
Here are some links from the debate on new signage at Bislett Stadium: