Saturday, August 27, 2005

What Do You Love?

We were talking over a good slow lunch about the things we'd given our lives to.

He was telling me about a lonely campaign he undertook to elevate the standards for his profession, proposing to a national board how it might validate excellent design practice through certification. Have designers earn a credential.

"Then Ivan Chermayeff shot me down," he said, with a wry twist of the mouth to indicate the icon of graphic design had fired a fair, direct shot. "Chermayeff said, 'I worked with the head of General Motors, and he was a guy who loved cars. Now when I work with General Motors, it's an MBA, and all he loves is money. I worked with the CEO of Xerox, and he loved copiers. Now I work with an MBA, and all he loves is money.'"

An MBA is a professional credential, Chermayeff argued, that had helped ruin American business by replacing passion for the product or the customer or the craft with a focus on the money. People became designers because they loved beauty, solving problems visually, the mysterious act of making something that had never existed before.

"If we make design professionals earn a credential, we won't have designers who love design, we will get designers who love money."

What do you love?

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