As a designer we have an obligation to understand where our influences originate and recognise how design has evolved over time. This allows us, the designers, to avoid making the same mistakes as other designers have in the past. This ideally should allow design to continue to develop in the 21st century and in turn have a positive, profound effect on society.
The designers which we study are those who have changed the way we think about an issue or the way we interact with the world around us. We want to study those who thought bigger than those before. The designers who moved design forward in their own era. This could be through technology, aesthetics or simply a different approach to design thinking.
The first example to look at is Isambard Kingdom Brunel who created the first Victorian train line designed not simply as a mode of transport but as an experience. He designed the track to create the illusion the train was flying through the English countryside which gave the user a greater sense of expense and wonder whilst travelling. The railway is not simply a stunning piece of engineering but also changed the way designers think about their product. Brunel was beginning to introduce user centred design to Victorian Britain. This is a perfect example of a designer thinking on a utopian level. He thought BIG. And in turn designed something extraordinary.
As designers we have a fundamental responsibility to think beyond the given boundaries that we often choose to accept in the modern age. We must adapt a possibilitarian attitude in order to create something which will truly move design forward. Creating doesn’t solely refer to the final product but also the process in how designers think and develop a concept.
To summarise designers must thing BIG. We must dare to push the boundaries of society in order to move forward towards a fuller designed world.