Archive for Wal-Mart
Recently I was fortunate enough to watch a TED talk which featured a designer named Emily Pilloton. Emily Pilloton is a pretty impressive young woman. She wrote a book called Design Revolution about 100-plus objects and systems designed to make people’s lives better. “At age 26, convinced of the power of design to change the world, she founded Project H to help develop effective design solutions for people who need it most.”
“In February 2009, Pilloton and her Project H partner Matthew Miller began working in Bertie County, North Carolina, the poorest and most rural county in the state, to develop a design-build curriculum for high-school kids, called Studio H. In August 2010 they began teaching their first class of 13 students.”
In my view there is a considerable shift going on culturally in the United States with consumer choice and it has largely to do with our expectations of design.
A lot of people would view America as lagging behind places like the Europe (Netherlands/Germany) when it comes to design but I firmly believe that this is gradually changing and it’s as a result of people like Emily Pilloton.
However I think it’s also as a result of companies, like Apple or Target. Some would argue that Apple’s market capitalization is an example of how thoughtful design can affect the bottom-line.
The other example I provided was Target. Often, I will use a Target vs. Wal-Mart analogy to help clients try to understand the types of their customers. An example would be Citibank is to Target as Bank of America is to Wal-Mart. Target has differentiated itself among big-box stores with design. Target even has a discussion of their “Focus on Design” on their website.
Target changed the perception of the big box store forever and arguably its ads are stylistically some of the most imitated by far. Target however is remarkably mainstream but has brought good design to Middle-America with its product selection (think Mossimo and Method).
Perhaps you can help me… What does the effect of good design say about our standards culturally and the impact and expectations on choice? Do companies like Apple or Target have that much of an effect on our overall design sensibilities? Are we better because of them? Can design in fact change the world as Emily Pilloton asserts? Does it take a confluence of things to help us evolve our relationship with design to see where else good and effective design can be applied? What are your thoughts?