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Reaction towards Victor Papanek’s Article Essay

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Updated: Dec 10th, 2021

Victor Papanek was an industrial designer and Dean of the California Institute of Arts’ School of Design. His main motivation in writing this article was the negligence usually characteristic of designers in meeting the specific needs of the users of their designs. Papanek is of the idea that every problem existent in the society is a potential design proposal and that in creating designs to solve these problems, user needs ought to be given the priority.

Victor is most critical of the design enthusiasm characteristic of the design profession in which designers focus their attention on the most recent and efficient inventions and innovations. He argues that this leads to the neglecting of a portion of the society as far as special needs are concerned. For instance, the invention of electricity kind of stopped research on oil lamps and thus it has led to the neglecting of the lighting needs of the part of the society that cannot afford electricity. His other concern is the standardization of design products. He is of the idea that designers should consider the special needs of the special people in society. For instance, his mother was short and always had problems reaching the cabinet.

Victor also believes that most of the problems in society can be attributed to design standardization and design mistakes. For example, a lot of people are suffering deformation in their feet due to poorly designed shoes. In addition, there is a lot of pollution due to design problems of cars etcetera.

Papanek’s argument regarding his care for users of design products is sensible. However, his suggestions utterly simplify the issue of design in a misguiding way. Reading this article, the reader is made to think that the consideration of user needs is solely dependent on the preference of the designer. However, designers have many things to consider when creating designs and are often unable to satisfy the needs of all users. It is thus essential for designers to consider user needs in their designs, but if some users are not catered for in a specific design, the designer should not be blamed blindly.

The theory and organization of the Bauhaus

The quality of art and craft in the society is dependent on the development of passion in it by artists. This passion will be some kind of spiritual drive, to create works of art with certain ideas for the people who see them. Thus, when art involves the spirit of the artists, it can be used to tell a lot of things about its creator. It is common knowledge that art pedagogy can be useless to the artist if he/she lacks passion for art. This, however, does not overlook the importance of art pedagogy.

The most successful artists are the ones who nurture their talent through experience by active involvement in real artistic work. Some people however live with the misconception that art can be perfected through study. Study is known to, in most cases, isolate the artist and make him spend valuable time toying with artistic models that do not correspond to real materials, methods, and economies of art. Art schools should therefore identify talent and incorporate realistic art in their curriculums.

The designing process is normally aimed at giving form to space. The spatial conception of the user of the work of art demands a cognitive material realization. Thus a work of art must integrate physical, intellectual and spiritual keystones for it to be complete. The Bauhaus at Weimar, made an attempt to develop an all-rounded curriculum for art. The curriculum included theoretical and practical studies backed up by a detailed evaluation of form and the problems encompassing it. The curriculum encouraged the discovery of individual talent and adeptness in expressional art.

Success in studying art depends on the passion of the artist and the methods used in art pedagogy. It is of the essence therefore, to develop a system for identification of talent and set up appropriate curriculums for art pedagogy similar to the one set up by Bauhaus at Weimer.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Reaction towards Victor Papanek’s Article." December 10, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/reaction-towards-victor-papaneks-article/.

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