Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I'm An Artist Because I Say I Am

Orange are now touting the special edition Julien MacDonald designed Sony-Ericsson K510i. I have three competing theories as to who exactly Julien MacDonald is:
  1. A primary school child of an Orange or Sony-Ericsson employee who went a bit mad with some luminous coloured paints;
  2. A made up name invented by the Orange or SE marketing department to try to make it sound cool (I know the names of a lot of good designers, but somehow very few of the names of designers asked to design custom editions of phones like this);
  3. A real designer who just isn't very good, or sold his name and got the work experience student to do the design.
OK, OK, I can look him up, apparently he is real and he's Welsh and tacky. This is eminently believable, even though the source is Wikipedia, so 3 it is. But this seems to be a growing trend which is more miss than hit to me. It shows the marketing departments are trying to cash in on the premium that a 'designer' tag can get, yet like so many of these attempts there is no quality control to ensure that the designing is actually adding value and improving the product. Too often it's a muppet who has questionable taste, getting to play with all the wrong toys to mess up a product in a space (s)he simply does not understand - and 'design' is really not the right verb to describe this process.