Thursday, July 12, 2007

Bad influence

Could it be that (many) american films encourage an attitude of "rules apply to everyone else but me"? I've been saying that this is becoming a very nasty attitude in Mexico. Not just on the way people drive: when I drove into the Mall today, at least 10 cars (most of them new models of SUVs) crossed on red light into the parking lot. Years ago, there only few people like that, nowadays almost everyone behaves like rules don't apply to them.

Many films have similar plots like Rambo... when rules, and establishment affect you, it is OK to stand up and break the rules. Take Harrison Ford trying to prove he's innocent... or the guy who kidnaps a police station... etc, etc. It's Ok to think that some rules are "optional" but not every rule, and not every time... and some other rules are not optional, they are mandatory! I think that propaganda, media, and brain wash are damaging the idea of order and social behavior. When people start to believe (and act upon that) that rules are OK, until they don't want to follow them... (like: why should I wait in line until traffic lights are green, when I can cross right now)... it's when things go into chaos.

That same line of thought goes into design. If you think that rules, specifications, standards, design brief or whatever, apply to everyone else but you... well, things might also fall into chaos. Those guidelines are there for a reason... some are legal, some are rules from previous experiences, some are the client's specifications. My typical example is a client who wants a house, and the architect says: "no way, I am going to design a cathedral like the sagrada familia because that's what my creativity tells me to do, and you (client) have no say on creative matters". Can you imagine that! Well, unfortunately that's how some young (industrial) designers respond to their design brief.

But it's not just what the client wants. There's also the social and environmental responsibility. There are many engineers and designers in all kinds of industries "polishing" design. i.e. making small (or big) changes on how products are made, from optimizing shapes, to optimizing assembly or materials, etc. They know that a small change can represent less minutes of assembly, or less material... and that translates into saving some money. Even when it's a few cents, because products that are produced by the millions, 5 cents can become 5 millions in savings. So, why not taking that into account on the first place? Don't think that rules apply to everyone else but you... so you can just waste materials, and throw useless shapes and do as you like just like this monster home. Like I saw today on a billboard : "You don't need more money. You need better taste"

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