Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Insite 27 Summer 2010 Contents design community ISSUE
technical laboratory. It employed 100-odd people in this business,
which encouraged a whole new group of people to move there.
This then attracted new businesses to open and all of a sudden,
there is this shift in attitude – it’s gone from being seen as an
agricultural town to a high-tech town. The beauty of this day
and age is that distance is no longer an issue thanks to digital
communications. Perth was once held back by being the most
geographically isolated city in the world, but now it’s on the same
playing field as any other capital.
That’s why it’s so crucial to get people to think about what we’re
actually trying to achieve from a design institute point of view. It’s
why FORM (a WA body set up to
support and promote design in
WA) is working so hard trying to
educate people on the importance
of the creative industry. The whole
idea is we’re trying to get people
to think collectively as a unified
force. A design fraternity – architects, graphic designers, interior
designers, fashion designers.
At the moment, the whole design scene in WA is fragmented. No
one knows the difference between good and bad design. There is no
visible hierarchy of talent. One of the most frustrating aspects of
our profession is that, unlike doctors or engineers, designers aren’t
subject to legislation. To be a qualified doctor or engineer, you have
to go through rigorous tests and exams to prove your skills, but
designers don’t. And that’s where the problem lies. Anyone who has
a bit of creativity can become part of the scene, and it doesn’t
matter if they legitimately train or are self-taught, they print out
the company cards and promote themselves as designers. So,
you end up with ‘cowboys’, a s well as professionals conducting
themselves in the marketplace.
Then what has happened, over and over again, is this: a client
spends money on a ‘cowboy’ to try and get a professional result. It
doesn’t do anything for their bottom line and they say: ‘What’s the
point?’ The whole industry has been tarnished by this.
Over the years, the clients have started to dictate the terms. For
example, they’ve been saying to designers, ‘if you want a job, you
speculate’; that means up to 10 designers might each put together
a speculative concept and the client picks their favourite, but also
keeps the ideas. When you start to look at the legalities of intellectual
property and copyright laws, it’s a field day. Designers are getting
cheesed off and realising, ‘hang on, you’re using my brain and I can
register a design and no-one can copy it, and if they want to copy it
they’re going to have to pay a licence’. The terms are starting to meld
into some kind of stew and no one can really get a sense what’s going
on, including the professionals.
“We’re trying to get people to think collectively as a
unified force. A design fraternity – architects, graphic
designers, interior designers, fashion designers...”
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