The advent of Global Design – ethics and challenges


Global Design is a recent phenomenon. Often deemed an unknown concept in the design industry, global design harbours an expansive and varied scope naturally. However, interestingly what sets apart this new concept is its unique inter-dimensional nature, especially its extraordinary equation with culture. In the age of technology impacting every aspect of our lives global design has immense potential. Global design goes one step further in the realm of ‘change’ in globalization and brings together the tri-factor of culture, enterprise and industry.

While decoding the term “global design”, a question of ‘ethicality’ revolves around its very notion. Thinking globally comes with an ethical component. Global design at its wake has a cultural aspect. There is a relationship between design and culture, its cultural value translated into products. Global design entails the responsibility of respecting the cultural specificities associated with the idea of design taking in the differences across space and time. Thus it has the responsibility to treat people in this line of business as subjects and not objects.

Designers and experts are aware of the challenges that govern the concept. Global design caters to various cultures, and traces the most important challenge of how it is exhibited and consumed by them. Here the idea of ethics comes to influence. In other words, how can graphic designers globalize graphic design by keeping intact its authenticity, without threatening the cultural diversity?

Global designs are well known, accepted and available in different cultures. Global designs such as international airports, luggage on wheels, containers, jeans, phones, credits cards to name a few, have been popular off late. However, the real challenge here is the act of visually communicating information not only in a global scale but also to a multicultural audience. In the recent survey on Global Design, US continues to lead and as is seen the very formats of global designs have an American origin. Then ‘what makes a design global’? Design in its process of preserving the global status goes on to take into context anthropological and historical understandings. To maintain its ethics, global design ought to take responsibility for the wholesale process from raw materials to production, and even recycling.

Interestingly a study in the area of global design goes on to address a variety of areas from cultural studies to anthropology, politics, marketing and philosophy. Global Design still is much an unknown topic in the design world but its scope is unbound and promising. Universities and Design schools all across the world are now offering Bachelors and Masters Degrees in the subject. WLCI in collaboration with the College De Paris have an integrated five year program, where students are given a detailed experience of methodologies, skill development, implementation and acquisition as well as space for experimentation. All these while keeping in the cultural aspect. If you have an interest in the interesting dynamics of global design and a niche for design itself, then you are in for quite an unravelling experience!


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