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Why good design should be accessible

There was once a time when design was only available to a handful of people who were able to afford it. Not only was this a critical error in strengthening our design economy, it was a huge failure in serving the rawest purpose of design – to improve the lives of people.


The term “design democracy” is far too over-used in our industry today – not to mention misunderstood. So, to clear things up a bit, we thought we’d lay our what design democracy means to us.


For Products for People, design democracy is two-fold:


1. Accessibility, and

2. Human-centred design


Let’s start with the former and most obvious part of this discussion. Design needs to be accessible. We don’t just mean from a budget perspective – although that is important. We mean from a global and quality point of view.


Tucked away in obscurity down here in our little pocket of the globe, Australia’s access to design is somewhat limited owing to much of the world’s design output coming from Europe. Even though there are many who can order and get the product over here, the freighting alone puts those products way out of reach for most of us, especially if you have a particularly budget sensitive project or diligent project manager watching the bottom line closely. And even beyond all of that, remote access to international product often means that customisation is totally out of the question, resulting in a not quite so fit-for-purpose solution for the complexities of your clients brief.


So where’s the design democracy here?


Products for People not only have the capability to order European product, but have spent years forging close partnerships with international brands such as Boss Design, Maxdesign, Bla Station and True Design (to name a few) to be able to house inventory, but also in some cases, operate the brand within Australia and New Zealand under license. Does this bring the price point of shipping down? Yep. Does it make customisation of European product possible? It does. Does it minimise the lead-time? Exponentially. Will your project manager be able to sign the first spec sheet without slashing key pieces? They will!


The second part of this conversation is that for design to truly be democratic, it needs to serve the needs of people. Essentially what this means for us is that all the brands and products under the Products for People portfolio need to have a strong commitment to human-centred design.


How then, does Products for People invest in human-centred design?


Take a look at any of our brands, and you’ll find that they all share one common factor: the design is driven by the needs of its users. Boss Design for example, is world-renowned for their exhaustive R&D in creating new products that responds to the needs of people. Likewise, Bla Station is quite experimental in their approach to design; never complacent and always looking to offer solutions for not just the already known and established, but the unexpected, the yet-to-be discovered. True Design presents another great case-in-point where they believe in design longevity and user wellbeing; identifying what is real and what is trend by always investing in originality over design that too quickly changes from innovative into conventional.


Pick a brand, any brand, and the bottom line for us is people. We have a strong belief in democratising design in terms of access and quality – and that’s something you can always count on from P4.


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