“There is a saying in German ‘sein Handwerk verstehen’. This means to know one’s trade, whereby trade and craft are used synonymously. In the first half of the 20th century, movements like Bauhaus or Der Deutsche Werkbund tried to find new definitions of design, new guidelines for making things and an accompanying ethic. Generally speaking the aim was to create things that are useful, functional, well-made, affordable and designed to make people’s lives better. And traditional craftsmanship was meant to play an important role in the creation process. Today, almost 90 years later, there seem to be no more movements of this kind. But the ideas and aims are still valid, perhaps even more so, because the problems we are facing now are global and of immense proportions.
“Designers, like everybody else, have a responsibility. On a daily basis they create things that other people will use, see and have to deal with. In my view, it is the designers’ responsibility to do their job in the best way possible. Of course we all need to satisfy the people who pay our bills, but we should also think about what effects our work will have in the long run. The environment is a big issue and not just for intellectual do-gooders. Visual pollution may not kill us, but it should also be taken into consideration. Our world is cluttered with products, offers and advertisements and something newer and better is always around the corner. By making things that are well done, appealing and intelligent we can satisfy our own need to create something good and lasting, we can help the clients and products we are representing to position themselves in a better way and, last but not least, we can show responsibility towards the consumer.
“‘Every new period demands a new kind of person’, was one of the mottos of modernism. Our time calls for people that take on responsibility towards others and the environment. Globalisation enables us to access resources in a way never known before, but it also means that what we do will affect other people on a much larger scale. So think about and know what you do – verstehe dein Handwerk!”