While we were proofreading this issue, in the phase when we read through all the texts in their entirety within a short period of time, it struck us once again: design has a variety of disciplines as its companions – music, film, photography, fine arts, and architecture – with which it shares its sources of inspiration, its tools, and its methods. Mapping, storytelling, model-making, coding, and even copying, which gained respectability at the latest through pop art, can be identified as multidisciplinary design tools. “Everything is ready to be exchanged, expanded, and connected,” Frank Nickerl writes, meaning this not so much in an inter- or transdisciplinary, but rather a co-disciplinary sense. Design constructs associations with other disciplines and subdisciplines, similar to technical mechanics or material science in design engineering, which combine different subjects.
Precisely because design is in demand as an association partner, it requires a certain self-sufficiency or even an “Intrinsic Logic of Design”, to put it in the words of the authors of the publication of that name. To make this profile of design clear to others (or even to oneself), continuous mediation is required, the various interpretations of which are our focus in this issue. Interpretation is the keyword here, as it is part of the everyday business of a designer to convey his skills and knowledge, as well as his concepts, for example in the form of models. On the other hand, design – for instance, in the field of brand management – also has to be conveyed to colleagues and service providers (and also at times to fans of the brand), as well as the wider public – for instance, in a museum. In the German text of his contribution, Moritz Grund observes that “Design ist Vermittlung”, and since there is always a communicative performance connected with this, after intense discussion and various consultations, we decided to render the focus title in English as “Communicating Design”.
Originally, this editorial was supposed to be without “nitpicking”, just once free of annoyances caused by everyday life. But IKEA boss Peter Agnefjäll scotched this by announcing that in the future they want to offer their customers better quality for their money. At first, that sounds pretty good. But conversely, does that mean that customers have been furnished inadequately until now? Agnefjäll is quoted in the Handelsblatt saying, “today, you cannot build disposable products”. That sounds pretty good, too. But what this means is that critical customers can achieve something after all. So all that remains, is the critical challenge, above all to ourselves, to put a stop to business models based on disposability much sooner in the future.
We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to Ralf Erlinger for the comprehensive and unconditional quality of his illustrations for our focus theme, and to you, dear readers, for your confidence in us, which we fully intend to honour in the future by not subjecting you to opportunistic adjustments of standards.
Stephan Ott, Editor-in-Chief