This. (While I’m still off staining and mosaicing)

I’ve mentioned before how much I dislike the pretentious lexicon of the design/arch industry. I find it to be completely ridiculous, off-putting and elitist in the worst possible way. It’s a huge issue for me and I have gone toe to toe with more than one peer over it. I’m sure I will in the future, too. It’s one of the ways I think the industry needs to *SERIOUSLY* get over itself.

Apparently, I’m not the only one.

Oh yes. Yessssss……



  1. Yeah. When I see stuff like that, I know I’m looking at high Design, and immediately start looking for the exit.

  2. I keep seeing you use this term, and I also keep seeing you conflate it with modern design. It’s not high design nor is it something associated particularly with moderinism. It’s simple pretension of the industry across the board, and these aren’t the same thing. This kind of ridiculous language is used when discussing classical and traditional design forms too, if not even more so. It’s more common in architectural circles than design circles anyway.

  3. butbutbut – if we don’t get to use the fancy words we can’t show off how much BETTER we are than all those untrained plebians [who couldn’t possibly instinctually know what works for them and what won’t even if we explained it in clear English]!!!

  4. I do think a lot of it is fear. Really- the fear that if something can be easily explained in words everyone can understand, that people might get the idea that they can *do* those things without the benefit of all the training and experience of a pro.

    Which is only true in the most limited of senses. It requires a hell of a lot of insecurity to really take that notion to heart. Understanding a thing does not somehow imbue one with the ability to *do* that thing. I *understand* how and why an airplane remains in the air. It doesn’t make me a pilot.

    I wonder, with the expense of advanced degrees nowadays if the more degrees you have, the more frightened of this type of thing you become. Then again, I have four degrees now and it hasn’t happened to me yet, but maybe the last two will cause some major shift in the way my mind works. Doubt it, but it could happen.

  5. I use High Design to mean the design version of High Art, High Music, etc. It’s the kind of thing that produces barely usable coat hooks for a mere $95.

    Not all modern design is High Design, but a lot of it certainly is. OTOH, none of the stuff I’ve seen you do falls into that category, because you put intense effort into usability in the real world – and a lot of High design ignores that as secondary to the goal.

  6. I have seen the pretentious used when the designer wants to hide the fact that they have nothing worthwhile to say. Also they will use it when they want to gloss over that their design is one that should have been left crumpled up in the trashcan.

    My rule of thumb is, If you can’t describe the project succinctly and clearly in terms that your grandmother could understand, then you and your project are obviously not ready for prime time.

  7. I often wonder if this is why I don’t win more competitions. I just can’t write shitty copy like that.

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