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21 most influential

April 04, 2005 ・ Blog

In a recent issue of icon we published our totally undefinitive list of who and what we think are the most influential in design right now. It was always meant to provoke reaction but I’m pretty sure we still haven’t received a single letter or direct email about it. I suppose it proves that our readership just isn’t a letterwriting one.

It was only when we posted it on our website (well, I did because I do the website) that we started getting a fair bit of reaction. Most blog references to it have been around the “this is quite interesting, look they’ve listed Ikea as number one, oh and blogs are there too” mark.

However, the comments on the systems of this blog and Metafilter are fascinating and are slightly disturbing to read. They’re generally very negative; vehement, even. The tone is often cynical and superior, yet what is being argued is generally weak, simplistic and biased - more instant reaction than anything more considered. Hence those that fail to understand that we’re not talking about the most influential stuff in design ever.

More concerning is that the breadth of interest in the article is so narrow - the discussions get bogged down in discussions about web technology and Apple. We were trying to say something provocative and relatively new, yet we seem to have ended up simply stimulating a lot of discussion about the same old things - namely Apple. And no one refers to any of the entries that might actually have told them something new about design, like the ones on Rei Kawakubo or Design Academy Eindhoven. It seems to prove that the web might offer access to wider sources of information, but people (at least those who post) still only read and react according to the confines of what they knew already.

Not that I’m bitter that they’ve all slagged off my (admittedly crappy) page design… But it’s certainly interesting being on the receiving end of internet criticism.