Richard Seymour talk at the V&A

Today I went to go see Richard Seymour at the V&A Museum, and my word, is he such an inspiration! His perception of design is an eye opener.

He quotes ‘Best way to predict the future is to design it.’ Relating to this quote to the design industry as a whole, we as designers have to design for the future, to accept that the future is design, and us designers create that future. He goes onto saying that as designers we must accept what the future holds for us, for example books, we all know that books will be something of the past, when we visit the History Museum a book will be found in glassed boxes dated from start to end. This will happen, but very slowly. Personally I like collecting and read books, building up a collection having that feel of something physical, turning pages and reading printed text on paper and not a screen. But I have accepted that books will be something of the past, and as a designer I have to look forward to the future.

Another quote by Seymour, ‘Things don’t go away alone, they only go away when they are not around’. There wil be times where you will find products that have a peak period and then eventually fade away. There are times where you would have products that don’t even have peak periods, this is bad design. For example, pagers, they were introduced to the market and lasted for a short period of time.

Seymour goes on to talk about Jonathan Ive and praising him as ‘master at ergonomics’. Now he is not talking about anthropomorphic of ergonomics but ’emotional ergonomics’. For example, the interior light we find in a car is emotional ergonomics as ‘the light goes out slowly’ says Richard Seymour. Why is it that we find that pleasing? Why do we like the light to go out slowly and not quickly? Why is it some of us prefer the colour white on new modeled cars and not older cars? There are so many things that are related to ’emotional ergonomics’ which I have never seemed to notice, but now I will. Related to this, we have high expectations for a good/ expensive product, yet we sometimes find that the outcome is weak.

In his opinion he thinks that Britain, from a design perspective, ‘looks good from a thinking point of view’ in comparison to Korea and China, he feels that Britain does need to develop quickly.

Relating to my dissertation, when Richard Seymour graduated from the RCA, which was during a recession time, along with 17 other pupils, 3 pupils got jobs straight away. So it shows that the recession did not affect students as much as other disciplines.

Seymour believe to be ‘optimistic about the future’ to believe that as designers we can make things better. A designers role is to create and reinvent products. He believes that designers are becoming lazy and avoid reinventing products, isn’t that where the challenge is?

You never get 100% understanding of user groups, what ever we create and produce it is down to the designers.

He also stated that should design have ‘an oath in design?’

‘Don’t make it work, make it better’

Referenced throughout his talk:

Film: Sunshine by Danni Boyle

Industrial Judo

De-tirement (currently working alongside Singapore government)


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