Information & Communications Technology. It's all there in the initials. A while back we changed our bank because we told them what we were going to do & did it, whilst they told us what they were going to do and then did the opposite. The direct debit for one of our mobiles got left behind when we moved the account elsewhere. Either of the two banks concerned could have told us that it wasn't transferred. In fact they probably weren't that concerned. Orange however, would have found they weren't getting the money they were expecting. Being all about communications, you might think they could easily and effectively communicate the information to me by means of their own technology. But no. What actually happens is my call is interrupted and I am informed by a recorded message that my service will be restricted unless I pay soon. This always happens at an inconvenient time, say when I'm out or having to make several calls. OK, so I could set up a new DD, or set a reminder to pay monthly. But now I am annoyed and resentful. A timely text would mean I could sort it out at a convenient time in the office instead of the car or wherever else I always am. Plus, Orange would get the payment on time. Why oh why oh why...
I see quite a lot of new technologies, mostly via twitter feeds. Some look interesting, many irrelevant to me, and a few like they could really improve on some aspect of life. There does seem to be a reliance on the technology part though. Only the newest, however. One app, if I recall rightly, would remind you to get up and do some exercise at the optimum time for maximum benefit. As assessed by the bio-monitor which would read your state of body by means of the phone being in your pocket.
Today I wanted to get a quick idea of how feasible and economical it would be to have some specialist electronics designed and made up. I'm sure there's stuff in cyberspace that would tell me exactly what to do and how. Probably a YouTube channel devoted to it. I thought of calling the local Maplins for names of people to discuss it with, but it costs 50p a minute. So I did an internet search for small electronics firms nearby. The first one I called understood what I was talking about and recommended a designer. I called him, had very fruitful conversation, and got some good ideas I hadn't thought of. Estimate of costs about right for our budget. Exactly what I needed. In fact, better than I expected. All done by means of technology about 120 years old. Except for the virtual yellow pages. But the paper version would have done, if I could find it. I got to talk to a person about some kit we need. We communicated the information about, and by means of, various technology. It was fuss-free, very efficient, and hugely enjoyable (to me, at least - he might have a different view). That should be the aim of all ICT, but it rarely achieves a reasonable score in even two of those three bits.
'Mixed media' is usually seen on labels adjacent to artworks. Application of the appropriate technology - not necessarily the newest - would be well described by that phrase. And getting things done right, and well, without avoidable waste would be easier to achieve. And better all round.
Why is design is such a difficult concept for people to grasp? The word is bandied about without question as to what it actually is . I'm a designer and I ask a lot of questions. This one has bothered me for a while, and although I don't expect to find a simple answer, I need to think about it awhile.
In 'Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance', Robert M Pirsig asserted that whilst everyone knows what 'quality' is, it is impossible to define. 'Design' is perhaps the opposite.
For me, design is solving a problem. So a thing that does a job has been designed. You can assess how well it does the job by asking 'what is this supposed to do?' and 'does it do that?' Tin opener, jet engine, centrifuge, all do something that can be closely defined. So what about a wallpaper? It would stick to the wall irrespective of the pattern, or design imprinted upon it. Its function is independent of the decoration. A beautiful tin opener that doesn't work is useless. And annoying - I have one.
The process of making a decorative pattern is so different from making a functional thing that it warrants a discrete word. Fashion designers need to make sure the clothes are wearable, but their true function is to attract attention in varying degrees. There are lots of ways to do that.
I'm not saying decoration and fashion aren't of value, but that they don't utilise 'design' in the same way that, say, a mechanical engineer would. We need a good word meaning 'make it look good'. I'll leave that with you...