What Should the United States National Design Policy Look Like?
By Adam Zoltowski
The CATALYST Blog recently featured a post by Anna Whicher & Gisele Raulik-Murphy on the Sharing Experience Europe (SEE) Project, indicating the momentum behind Design policy developments in Europe. In their first bulletin, SEE discusses the U.S. National Design Policy Initiative and its approach to establishing a U.S. design policy. Why does the U.S. need a national design policy? The answer is present in the plethora of functions we carry out on a daily basis that could be simplified and made easier by good design.
- Introduce into K-12 educational curriculum learning modules on design creativity and innovation.
- Preparing and publishing case studies/examples of design’s social, economic, and environmental positive impact.
- “Round tables” with the design community, government agencies, and stakeholders.
Essentially, there is a need for collaboration and cooperation between the government and design organizations. In order for all parties to benefit from the partnership, the value of design must be successfully communicated. Though the importance of introducing design and innovation to educational curricula cannot be overstated, I wonder if it’s too soon to ask for before design’s value receives a wider public understanding and appreciation. Once this is achieved, the policy can be made more detailed, with more clearly defined touch points. I think that there should never be regulations on font sizes, colors and other aesthetic choices, but there should be standards on usability, open source access and other elements that aim to make design more accessible.
David Hoffer of Frog Design Discusses Design Policy, as a part of a series of submissions to the U.S. National Design Policy Initiative
So, what would you include in a national design policy? Would it have different objectives than those listed above? Should our policy proposals be more granular? More importantly how do we get these proposals made into actual government policy? With pressing issues like Iraq, health-care reform and an economic crisis that won’t go away, it’s hard to get design to the front of the line. I’d love to hear from some of our readers what our nation’s design policy priorities should be and how we can get the job done.
*While researching for this post I read this article published last summer by Allison Arrief in the New York Times. Written before the 2009 Design Policy Summit, it provides a good primer on the value of a design policy.