Products are passive. Without human interpretation, interaction or appreciation, the nature of a product would not matter. It is human interaction that gives a product life. It is our job as industrial designers to utilize this human interaction when we create products. A product that does not need human interaction to give it meaning is not a product.
I believe that part of the reason why industrial designer’s jobs are so difficult is because we are at the mercy of the market. The market determines how valuable a product is. Take the iPod for example, the product is reliant on interaction with humans. When a human interacts with an interface, the product is given a whole new meaning. This interaction opens up a whole new window of possibilities and interpretation for the user. I do not think any designer has any sort of control over the way in which the user will react. There isn’t any designer in the world that could calculate people’s reactions to a product. We have no control over our user’s reactions.
However, I do believe that as designers are able to make people use a product in a certain way. That is where the basis of design lies. We solve specific problems using design, thusly creating a specified product. Specified products have a specified use. Rather, it makes more sense to say that the user has more control over us. Our salaries rely on a constant output of products, made possible by the user. We design for them. In addition, making people do something the way you intended is a very difficult thing to do. Designing a product that is intended to be oriented or used in a certain way. Society has laid a basis for how you use certain things.
Industrial designers are responsible for the diversity of forms we see in our society. It is this power to channel societal energy into our products that makes designers necessary. Without different form interpretations, forms would be without exploration. A chair would be a seat with four legs. There would be no exploration of what a chair actually is. A chair would have a strict definition by which society would follow.
Designers also possess the power of innovation through form knowledge. We are agents of creation; without designers, the world would evolve at a snail’s pace. Every new technology that rears its head needs to be put into societal context. Designers create this societal context by merging for with technology. Furthermore, we conform to the advancement of humanity as opposed to sticking with old ways.