Nº 274


Text: Stephan Ott


Adam Richardson proclaimed the “death of the designer” 25 years ago. We asked the author to clarify his theory from today’s perspective. Much has changed for the positive since then, yet, according to Richardson, there is “little philosophical, ethical or critical reflection amongst designers today, even as they are enjoying their success and influence”. When we take a look around, we find ample evidence for this. Let’s just take the most breathtaking of many examples the recent past has to offer: the jury of the Plus X Award, “The innovation prize for brand quality”, voted Volkswagen one of the most innovative brands of 2017 and presented the prize to its chief designer Klaus Bischoff on the occasion of the recent IAA. As if the manipulation scandal driven by significant criminal energy had never happened. Energy with which those responsible do not intend to make any positive changes, but have rather continued to simply secure their own privileges.



55 years ago, the plastic bag with a handle was invented – a product which has since accompanied us well beyond the task of shopping. On account of its long durability, the material causes more harm than good and rightly has a poor reputation. The fact that this need not necessarily be so is shown by numerous examples in which the material and especially its durability contribute to the positive image of a brand. Brand images and how they have changed over time is also one of the topics in our focus theme concerning “Identity”, in which we also preoccupy ourselves with the identity story of form, branding using social media, and the formation of identity using objects. At this point, we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Sara Codutti and Wolfgang Scheppe for their friendly and uncomplicated provision of the images from the “Supermarket of the Dead” catalogue.




form was established 60 years ago. During this period, the magazine has written design history, unleashed many debates, voiced opinions on current affairs, and also successfully survived an existential crisis or two. For this reason, we have dealt with a topic in each issue of 2017, which has been a contributing factor in characterising form. We are concluding this review in this issue with an outlook on the future. We have also extended each of the six episodes of the “Revisiting the Past” series and summarised them in our form feature format. This special issue will be automatically sent to our subscribers; other interested buyers can purchase it in our online shop.

Unfortunately, reality is not always full of joy. It also includes some sad phases. We learned of the death of Martin Roth while our last issue was being printed. We had interviewed him for that issue on our focus theme “Protest”, and he and his wife offered us their enthusiastic support despite his illness. We pay our respects as we remember a determined champion of culture.


Stephan Ott, Editor-in-Chief


Nº 283
The Power of Design

form Design Magazine

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