Interesting and relevant

One thing that is becoming more apparent in design work and on an even greater level, in society, is the focus from striving to be right v. wrong (rich v. poor being the financial equals to these two) to focusing on the interesting and relevant. For instance, I read some comments from a news blog post about the Bilderberg conference. If you don't know what that is, I suggest reading up on this year's here. In any case, one commenter on the news blog was arguing with another commenter about how one becomes a conspiracy theorist, why they exist, and what it means to seek the truth. The second commenter wanted the first to realize that looking at the facts should be sufficient. The first commenter argued that facts weren't sufficient sources for investigation because they came from broadcasts funded by corruption. Irregardless of which side one stands on, this dispute is about the right to be right. The right to be first. Being validated, seeking reward. These things have nothing to do with how interesting or relevant the information is that both commenters seek.

This distinction, moving away from right v. wrong, has it's purpose in design as well since communication is often concerned with responses of reward or punishment. Often designers are trying to design something the right way in order to be rewarded. How is a designer's work rewarded? Besides pay, it is talked about in the online social sphere. You're invited to make more work like it. You're passed along the conveyor belt of design inspiration. The key to the Design community's private drinking club is yours. When you make bad work, when you design the wrong way, you are punished. Or maybe the right word is banished. There is little you can do to protest since critical discussions are severely lacking amongst the design community, both online and offline.

I guess my point is both scenarios do a disservice to real communication in the long run. Choosing to make work that seeks a quick reward is no different than being ignorant or trying to make work that is different for the sake of being different. The only way out is to concentrate on designing messages that are interesting and relevant and to keep this in mind when discussing the work with other people.

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