Designers: Needed or Not?

We're written on this topic before, where the proposition goes something like this:

  • 3D printing devices and technology become widespread; either they're installed in homes or are in easily usable nearby service centers
  • Consumers use the devices and begin designing their own models. But, they're 3D laymen
  • The need for designers begins to dry up. Or does it?

We believe that designers will always be necessary, as does Matt Sinclair of no-retro, who writes:

... betrays an attitude which most designers (myself included), find difficult to shake off, namely that they are guardians of the right to decide what is ‘good’ design and what is not. By proposing that 99% of consumer design is tat and 1% is brilliant, it pre-supposes an ability to determine what is worthwhile and what is not, over and above the opinion of the person who created it for no-one except themself.


Matt continues with a lengthy analysis of the topic, drawing quotes and ideas from the great thinkers in the field.

What do we think?

We think designers will continue, simply because good design is a very complex task. It's beyond what most normal consumers would be able to handle, given their lack of training and time.

However, the key words above are "most" and "normal". Somewhere hidden in that mass of consumers - which will be enormously larger due to the emergence of inexpensive 3D technology - will be those that are capable of becoming proper designers.

So we think two things might happen:

  • Demand for designers will increase because there will be many more printers needing models to print
  • The number of designers will increase, partly drawn from the pool of consumers that "graduate" to professional designers

Via no-retro

General Fabb

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has been writing Fabbaloo posts since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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