Why does design matter?

Why does design matter? What are the challenges the design industry faces at the moment? And importantly, what is the future of design?


These are only some of the questions asked of some of the most inspiring figures in our industry as part of the #ondesign campaign. Now in its second edition, the campaign champions design thinking as its founder Justyna Sowa opens up topical discussion across the globe.


The second edition of the campaign launches today and features designer Faye Toogood, writer and curator Michelle Ogundehin, Natalie Melton of The New Craftsmen and our very own Andrea Cuman of


The role of design in the betterment of our lives is a dominant theme emerging throughout the campaign, with Michelle Ogunhedin advocating that “design should improve the society and it should outlive its creator. This is the opportunity to change things for the better. Design is not design unless it works but also design is not design unless it improves our aesthetic lot.

Faye Toogood also argues about the importance of design to the individual: “Design is about finding a way to help us not only function better as a human being but also to communicate, to live to be to find our own identity.

How do we achieve that? How do we use design to improve our lives and remember its primary role throughout busy design weeks and hundreds of new product and collection launches? Andrea Cuman of finds an answer in describing design as a mindset, rather than a discipline: “Design before being a discipline is a culture. It enables us to understand, evaluate to make informed choices about things. Design matters not only to the designers or to the design industry but everybody around the globe. The future of design is about services rather than objects because in our everyday lives we are full of objects and products. We should instead work on making the everyday lives of people better.


Andrea’s thoughts link to one of the challenges noticed by designer Faye Toogood and writer and curator Michelle Ogundehin - the growing saturation of the design market.

There’s not a realistic attitude to what’s available in terms of jobs” shared Faye. “The design industry is putting out a vision that there are enough sustainable jobs in design which I don’t believe there are because really, there is only so much furniture, object, clothing that can be designed and procured. The challenge that design is facing is saturation


With its origins in the UK, the campaign’s second edition also raised concerns about the current condition of the UK manufacturing and consumer awareness: “Craft is such a labour intensive, human enterprise, therefore what is always going to be challenging is the higher cost of labour in the UK compared to other places in the world” points Natalie Melton Therefore from a pricing perspective, the challenge is to help people understand why things are priced the way they are.

With numerous challenges and a big task at hand, design industry keeps evolving, with positive changes ahead: “The biggest achievement of the design industry has been the increased spread of design culture” argued Andrea while Faye shared her excitement for “the diversity and the breaking down of boundaries. Finally, designers can switch mediums, genres and industry.


And what are #ondesign founder’s, Justyna Sowa’s thoughts?
Asking why design matters opens up broad conversations and idea exchanges, as the answer to this questions often depends on the current political, economic and societal landscape as well as the locations and cultures in which we’re spending time asking the question. However, what’s very positive and relevant across the globe is the fact that design does matter, that it is everywhere around us and that good design should make our lives better - whether that’s on an individual level, for our communities, whole societies and the humankind.



The first episode of the second edition of the campaign is now live at with four more in-depth interviews launching in the weeks to come. Follow #ondesign and Justyna Sowa on Instagram

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