“Tomorrow’s world will be designed by the design students of today — by you — and while this is a great opportunity, this is also a great challenge and a great responsibility,” Dieter Rams told graduating Art Center students during the 2013 Spring Graduation Ceremony on Sat., April 20.
Accepting an honorary doctorate of arts from Art Center, the legendary designer was introduced by Product Design Chair Karen Hofmann and delivered his speech in German, translated live by an English-language interpreter. Rams thoughtfully reflected on his past, sharing lessons gleaned over a long and influential career as a product designer and university professor, while voicing concerns about the future and stressing designers’ changing responsibility in a changing world.
“Today’s main challenges are the protection of the natural environment and overcoming mindless consumption,” he said, urging students toward “a design ethos that goes way beyond complacency and arbitrariness.”
He presented five essential dimensions of design, along with his “formula for sustainable production”: Less but better! Much, much less, and much, much better. He asserted that “Design is primarily an intellectual process. It’s a procedure and an approach to create innovation and new meaning.”
Following are highlights of Rams’ speech: