Food for thought‘[...] do not think that good design can make a poor product good, whether the product be a machine, a building, a promotional brochure or a business man. But [...] good design can materially help make a good product reach its full potential. In short, [...] good design is good business.’
Thomas J. Watson Jr., IBM CEO

Medium designers may turn great, bad designers always turn worse

December 1, 2007, 4:29 AM

I try not to throw stones. Nobody’s perfect and that’s a fact.

But Mr. Alexandru Ghildus managed to make me shriek “grab your torches and pitchforks!” once more (after his attempts to become some sort of local lord ruling over all designers – read about the infamous design law). This is his “designed” xmas tree for a charity xmas-tree-selling campaign:


For those that live in Bucharest or at least have been here it might seem familiar. Does this ring any bell?:


It seems Mr. Ghildus will never give us a break from his pyramid-mania. It is truly a shame that such a man is the head of the design school in our capital and truly a great shame that he is the one that wins “fair and square” (and pink pigs went flying in circles around my block) most of the pitches for public monuments and such. Are all architects in Romania so bad that a “designer” must show them how it’s done? Or is it just that they don’t have the “talent” (read money/relationships) to win those pitches?

Nobody is truly evil. But Mr. Ghildush is definitely running for the title of “the Sauron of romanian design” or “one designer to rule them all”.
And by the way, I wish at least romanian journalists learnt the difference between “designer” and “fashion designer”.

Disclaimer (a kind of):
Some may think young designers should just bow down in front of the older ones, but quality, wisdom, skill or greatness don’t come by simply growing older. It takes a whole lot more to become a “master” and earn respect. I strongly believe in learning by doubting and questioning. And if the emperor is naked, we must shout it out loud.

(xmas tree image from Wall Street Journal)




rotfl@ sauron of romanian design =))
very powerful and correct image =))

The emperor is naked but—hmm—since when is this naked guy the emperor?

He doesn’t only embarrass himself, but he seems to be working hard to embarrass all others.

I wasn’t referring to Mr. Ghildus only when I said “emperor”, but to all designers that have some years of practice behind and who have gained status in one way or another (you’d qualify, Kit :P ). Some of them become teachers, spreading their “knowledge” (if they can’t practice, they teach, if they can’t teach, they become deans, as my dean used to say :)) ).

My idea was that no matter how experienced someone is, no designer is “bullet-proof”, we all can make mistakes at anytime. So I think it is very healthy for us not to dismiss anyone who seems to have a valid arguement just because we think they’re too young, too inexperienced, too ignorant and so on. After all, we’re designing for the people, not (only) for our own pleasure.

Another reason for that “disclaimer” is that somebody told me that I’m a young punk designer, just shooting my mouth. So I say prove me wrong (and maybe I’ll learn something new).

That’s why I never followed a “design school” here in Romania.
Fawkers like this one are making me sick. What can you learn from morons like this one? How to steal, cheat and burn the oil for the sake of it.

Always wondered who was the architect behind that weird monument, but now I know it was just a “designer” lol

Well, Kit said something like Mr. Ghildus not being a designer at all, but a glass artist. I hope I’m not mistaking, I’ll have to check on that.

It would be hilarious for him to not be an actual designer, but I don’t know if he has that much nerve to begin the “design law” project without himself being a real designer (I know some other glass and metal artists that call themselves designers. They took advantage of the fact that before ’89 designers had the title of “proiectand industrial” and the others were “proiectant industrial sticla/metal”, so when the revolution came, they just pretended to be the same thing as designers).

I’m speechless…

I shall go now and burn my designer diploma and dedicate my life to learning the secret arts of ninja. Then I’ll come back as The Designman, roaming the city at night, saving the innocent from bad designers.

So, he was the mysterious evil mastermind behind all the ugly logos like OSIM or even TAROM?
I like his “identity” with the name spelled IRC style and of course, the magnificent triangle/pyramid :))
It seems he has a fetish for the triangle form lol

@Iancu: you have a designer diploma? From our fine and dedicated educational system? Hahaha what a waste of time, Iancu. I feel sad for you :(

I see now why this beef with Gildush and others like him.

Funny thing: “Gildush” rhymes with “Coldish”, “Girlish”, “Oldish” hehehe

Dragos, our educational system may be flawed, to say the least, but it’s not totally useless. As a matter of fact, I always recommend going to school to anyone interested in design.

No matter how talented you are, you can’t become a good designer by yourself. You need to learn either from another good and experienced designer (the apprentice system), a teacher or an older work colleague, or together with some mates of your own age or class, motivating and competing each other. School offers you the chance to work with young people like you, to try, explore, experiment and learn together. If you are lucky enough to have a good teacher or two as well, then you have all the more reasons to become a good designer.

There’s quite a big difference between those that have attended school and those who haven’t. Leaving aside the innate talent. Four or eight years of being constantly exposed to art/design can’t be replaced by growing up making websites and surfing the web.

You could do without the school if you read the right books. But then again, it would take another good and experienced designer to tell you which books you need to read ;)

Sure, you are right, but maybe if you attend an English, German, French, Swiss art school.
Here in Romania, I’m not so sure you have models to follow, when most of the best designers around are your age.

Teachers? Bleah! Examples like the one above are all over the place.

Like you said, you can read books, practice and practice some more and, with a little bit of talent and being smart, you can get over it just the same :)

I bet I can manage without a designer diploma and, so far, I pushed it a lot, even being pretty much succesful on my own.

I mean, look at Cristian! :) He he

p.s. Listen to Missy Higgins her music is lovely!

Schools in Uk, Germany, Swiss are all great, but they have been started by some of the best designers ever. Comparing us to them is more than unfair. Even without the comunism, we’d still be quite behind.

And I think you’re mistaking, I already know of quite a few 30+ good designers. If some of them would teach 2 hours a week at the university things would be a lot better. But unfortunately people like Mr. Ghildush still decide what is “best” for romanian design schools so he’d never agree to let “outsiders” or worse, “non-designers”, teach “real” design (and there’s also the time factor, no good designer ever seems to have enough time because of the job :-S ).

By the way, Kit doesn’t count, he was a design student both in Cluj and Bucharest, but he chose not to finish any of them due to some circumstances (Kit, if I said something dumb, let me know, please). And he could tell you that learning alone is a long hard way. The old master-apprentice way of learning is still one of the best ways to grow a “healthy designer”. No “classic” designer grew by himself, they all had great teachers as well, designers or architects.

p.s. Missy Higgins sounds very nice, thanks for the tip ;)

Spot on. School is good—even Romanian design school is good—for a number of reasons. Let me enumerate three:
· Even if you do feel you’re learning, you steal. From your class-mates. Especially in the day of the exhibition, when others have up on the wall better works than you have. Most important lessons.
· You learn how to present your stuff. Often I see designers incapable of presenting their work and later I find that they did not attend a design school.
· You need that paper (diploma) if you decide to live abroad. When emigrating paperwork is suddenly an important thing in your life and diplomas make it easier to get work permits and to speed up the process.

Thank you Kit for pointing out probably the best reasons why design school is worth the time, in spite of all its problems.

I’d also add something most foreign schools don’t have: diversity. In romanian school you get to experience most of the design fields. You get to try how ambient design suits you, how graphic design feels like, how to design objects, and so on. It gives you later in your career a greater versatility that few have, because the western way of teaching tends to to teach you very very well just a small part. Should you feel to try something else later, you have to take it all up almost from zero.

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