04 Mar Daniel Nebot: Totum Revolutum
Back when everything still had a name of its own, designers were those people who defined products, furniture, lamps, tools, appliances and new devices. Couturiers made clothes, and if these could be called haute couture, then they were presented in Paris. Graphic artists looked after signs and symbols, posters, magazines, and anything that could potentially be labelled and published.
Decorators decorated our homes, cinemas, shops, bars and offices. Florists arranged bouquets… Yet all of a sudden they started to be known as designers, and in order to distinguish one from another, a second word was needed before the term designer to dispel any doubts. So, couturiers became “fashion designers”; graphic artists “graphic designers”; erstwhile designers became “industrial designers” and more recently “product designers”; decorators are “interior designers”; florists have transmuted into “floral designers”, and so on and so forth ad infinitum. That notwithstanding, I ought to clarify that some of these disciplines are not recognised as such by professional design associations.
For this and other reasons, the term design does not define anything standardized or uniform, instead its meaning depends on who is using it and with what intention. Today, designing is a profession of professions, a mixed bag where you can pick and choose all that you need to create your own one. At present, in what amounts to “and now for something even more difficult”, some designers who have still not learned the lesson, egged on by theoreticians and the like, are determined to push the limits of design even further, proposing exciting new fields for designers like art, photography, architecture, gastronomy… and all those disciplines booming at any given time. Let’s face it, designing is not a profession, it’s a cushy number.