Design is social by nature as it communicates and connects people, and to design is to adapt. From newspapers, to posters, to the internet, communication now happens in both the physical and digital realm. There is power within the form and as Marshall McLuhan once stated, “The medium is the message.” When designers do not fully understand the medium, they fail to understand the message.
New media and devices are extending our experiences beyond old boundaries with every passing day, so as we gain access to and control over new environments, new layers of interaction must be considered. Designers must therefore embrace the technological revolution and become adept at translating ideas across unfamiliar platforms.
Whatever its form, design should persuade, alert, or question. It is the medium with which to guide perceptions and package ideas, to lend credibility to messages lest they be dismissed as being too illegitimate for serious consideration. It is a means to an end, the midpoint of a larger process that begins with concept and ends with audience consumption. Whether that consumption involves monetary exchange is irrelevant.
The designers of today are in private rebellion against the commerciality often associated with their work. They condemn consumerism, but offer no alternatives and take no action beyond producing work into the void in hopes that someone will purchase their morally superior art. They are in constant existential crises about how to balance the personal with the commercial, yet visual design is founded on selling.
To design is to sell ideas whether they be your own or someone else’s. People express their values and identities through ownership. Therefore, the relationship between money and design need not be morally wrong: people buy products when they buy into ideas.