I was talking with Bryan Leister this past weekend about what design is and the challenges of design in the future. He described it as selling artisanal tomatoes. The challenge for designers in our time is to convince the general public that heirloom tomatoes are better than hothouse tomatoes. This, he said, is a design problem. I think he’s right.
I think of this as a movement toward artisanal design; it’s against the grain, and a challenge to show that the atypical is preferable to the typical. But design can and should support the creation of a world where the context of use and the personality of the creator are as important as the shape itself.