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Designing for a Not So Flat World

Designing for a Not So Flat World

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Published by Uday Dandavate
Balancing regional realities with Glocal aspirations will lead to global solutions.
Balancing regional realities with Glocal aspirations will lead to global solutions.

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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: Uday Dandavate on Nov 29, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Desinin or a not so lat wor
Designing for a
 Not So
Flat World
Uday Dandavate,
April 9
, 2007
1.1 Globalization
Discussions about globalization, especially the human and cultural issues,have polarized the world into pro- and anti-globalization camps. VandanaSiva, a leading environmentalist, suggests a new world view of globalization based on abundance and sharing, diversity and decentralization, and respectand dignity for all beings. This is where designers have the opportunity to play evangelists in the everyday lives of people living in different parts of the global economy.Due to the advent of information-revolution and ease of travel, people arefeeling the effects of globalization in every sphere of their lives.Globalization is changing the way people think and what they desire. It isleading them towards a drastic break from their erstwhile ways of living.Therefore, it is important to understand the extent to which people areembracing the changes occurring in their environment and the aspects of their past they would like to retain.
1.2 Global Design
The effects of globalization have profound implications for designers whohave made a shift from egocentric design to empathic design. Whileegocentric design was more about a designer’s expression and his/her desireto change the world, empathic design is more about being sensitive to theneeds and aspirations of everyday people. In egocentric design, the
minimalist tradition dictated the outputs of mainstream designers worldwide.Any deviation from the minimalist design tradition has been deemed more asa rebellious expression (
Memphis) or as an attempt to “inspire
avant  garde
design through provoking innovation and discussion” (
in DroogDesign). On the other hand, the outputs of empathic design have stemmedfrom traditions, culture, and local knowledge.Designers who aspire to design for unfamiliar or emerging markets have notadequately understood the importance of cross-cultural or local influenceson people’s choices. Design outputs, especially those developed for unfamiliar markets, need to incorporate local concepts, traditions, andexpressions. Additionally, new lifestyles that are emerging out of the fusionof cross-cultural influences pose even greater challenges and opportunitiesfor designers.It appears that designers can take their skills to new markets and transform people’s lives using a magic wand of “design.” Some people even think thatthe savages from the emerging economies, who were left behind in the fast pace of modernization, could use some help from the world that istechnologically, economically, and intellectually advanced. The truth,however, is different. With the enhanced access to new markets, designerswill be increasingly designing for people they do not know. In this context,designers need tools to first familiarize themselves with the inhabitants of the emerging global village and map the global mindsets.
1.3 Global Village

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