Design Democracy

In the lead up to the 2010 London Design Festival, we've been asked to write a blog post defining our understanding of "Design Democracy". What is democracy?

Democracy is self-expression. Political theorists say that democracy occurs when societies don't need to be preoccupied with basic survival. As survival becomes easier, people start to give value to self-expression. There is time for art, music, poetry, choice of career, choice of attire. As designers, we give shape to the variety of personalities that crop up. In this sense, democracy encourages designers to make things like a pink fuzzy chandelier (by Johnny Egg). It's not for everyone. But one in a hundred people feel like they've found their lighting soulmate when they see this chandelier:
Democracy is voices. Democracies support diversity. How do designers working in democracies reflect this idea? Collectives have become a popular way to work. At Puff&Flock, for example, we listen to the voices of all eight designers, and hope that the outcome will be quirky in the best way possible. We are a graphic designer, a British weaver, a French artist, a textile storyteller, an American material science fanatic, a traditional textile editor, and a textile artist with a background in set design:
Democracy is power to the people. This was the definition given by it's founders in Ancient Greece, Demos meaning "people" and kratos meaning "power". In contrast to democracy, we could have a monarchy or a dictatorship. In the design industry, is the system of power closer to a democracy or a structure with a more rigid hierarchy? Is it only the elite few who have the keys to success and dictate the approach that all designers must take? Doesn't feel that way, especially in London. Exhibitions such as New Designers celebrate the fresh approach that comes from recent graduates. Far from being taught to submit to the status quo, we have role models like Vivienne Westwood and James Dyson who cut their own path to success. We are the people, and thanks to the open culture of London, we have the power:
Thank you to guys at mydeco, who asked us to define what 'design democracy' means to us. It's a great concept! Take your democratic rights seriously, and vote for a blog!

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