Design Story: A world without design

by Isabelle Schulz

When I started interning at Belfast Design Week I realised how much of our lives was dependent on design. I consider graphic design, architectural design and product design the main branches of design and therefore, I explored what a world without them would look like.

At first, I thought that a world without graphic design must be calm and quiet, no loud advertisements on TV, no massive posters on buildings and busses and no brightly coloured packaging. But then I realised that a lot more would be missing. Firstly, a world without graphic design would be less joyful as we would not have any books to read, magazines to flick through, no advertisements that bring memories from our childhood back and no jingles that get stuck in your head and that you sing along to with friends. Secondly, it would be impractical. In a world without graphic design it is impossible to recognise your favourite chocolate bar’s packaging and quickly grab one as they would all look the same and there would be no advertisements, which would inform you that a new product even exists.


To me it feels like the world of architectural design is getting crazier and more futuristic every day. There are houses looking and functioning like spaceships, skyscrapers are getting taller, cities are getting bigger and interior design is becoming more modern and almost sterile. A world without architectural design would be simpler and more natural. However, big multi-storey building could not be built, which would lead more ground space being taken away from nature.


A world without product design would be more natural, as there would not be as many choices for make-up and clothing. At the same time, this would take away our opportunity to create a unique and personal style. Additionally, life would be impractical and unfunctional. Product design help make our daily life easier by putting a handle on the hot pan, pockets in our jackets to put the phones, which have also been designed by product designers, in, which we all depend on now.


So, what would a world without design look like? Firstly, it would be calmer and quieter, but it would also be dull and grey. Even though one might find the current number of colours and sounds produced by graphic design overwhelming, I think it would be quite dull and depressing to not have colourful advertisements and packaging and melodic jingles.  Secondly, it would be simpler but also less modern and advanced. Everyone profits from architectural design as it provides comfortable working and living spaces, fitting the environment. Thirdly, it would be more natural but also more uniform; people would not have the chance to express themselves through make-up or fashion.

All in all, I can say that a world without design would not be enjoyable. Even though the current amount of design in our environment sometimes feels a bit overwhelming, I would not want to miss all the benefits design brings to my life.

Images via Unsplash