As soon as I touchdown in Barcelona, it wasn’t very clear fro me what the word crisis meant for designers. Very soon I realized it’s not a foreign word, in fact, this a profession currently held by an industry that runs on development, investigation and social culture, and all funded by a healthy economy. The ugly truth: design students are taking critical hits by the european unemployment wave because of our reputation of making fancy overprized stuff for the 99%. The biggest punch is the answer to this question: “What about our future… Spain?”.
We are all very deep in this, I can see it in everyones faces, no one knows what’s going to happen since sadly we can no longer trust our school will cut the path to profesional design future. What happens from now on, is in our hands and we have a big wall to climb. This is where the crisis gets as real.
Sitting in the middle of the class during counter brief feedback I look at my international classmates trying to picture their future for them, there is a lot of talent in this group of individuals. Being an Industrial Engineering graduate, you know that career that most people study when they don’t know what to study, I did 5 years of that, so I know real commitment when I see it. Most of us are in design in a good way, others just wish they were better sketchers or probably feel they made a huge mistake, no pun intended, let’s take those away.
Now we have a group of future designers that will do anything to get employed and fill that awesome position on this cool studio they dream of since they searched for “product design” in google. This group takes it serious, does not tolerate uninterested feedback and just wishes there was more to work with without having to ask twice. They have much to learn but doing good so far and best of all, they don’t take the product designer tag as a limit to their work (multidisciplinary?, anyone?).
Now let’s go social. We got comunitarians and non comunitarians, that means students with european passports and those who don’t, FACT!, we are all being equally affected by this mayhem our host country is currently going through regarding of our ancestors, therefore it is by all means absurd to asume they are in advantage, FACT 2!, a non comunitarian can only stay with specific permission from the migration office whether it’s for study or for work and for a limited time, we are all grown ups here we know, it happens, in other words, they ARE advantaged, hurts to swallow. Let’s take these away.
Now we face a very small group, let’s say they can fit for a road trip on any regular car. These people came from outer countries the media loves to call “the third world”. Here after a long trip over the ocean this group’s future is the most uncertain, sometimes very well valued by a steriotyping international school for being so called exotic and different. The main persona of this group projects a very small yet significant amount of deception over decissions made but as a cut of the last group they remain fierce by all means. Inside this bunch we can find some have already given up or never had any actual interest on a goal that seems like common sense at first but then rolls into true personal decission . If people go study full careers abroad, it’s because it represents a better oportunity compared to what your homecountry can afford to give, but some plan to go back and take advantage of that experience in their own turf. Well as Smart as this really is…Let’s take these away.
Now we face the result of a quick selection following a very specific criteria: a heavily interested design student, non comunitarian, seeking to earn a position in a long loved city by any means necessary. Taking in account the situation of spanish economy and 24.4% of people unemployed, I can’t help to wonder who would be that crazy and stupid.
Well I know myself very well by now, I can’t predict anyone’s future even if I try, for now as I face the third year and what could be the last run of a design career in my beloved Europe, I get on board this train, making sure I leave nothing to luck, a dark future is no excuse for a lostpresent. Trust me, I am a designer, I can’t be the only one here.
About the author: Santiago Fuentes is a Product Design student with engineering background currently studying in Barcelona, Spain. You can learn more about him at this blog: http://thedesignerexpress.blogspot.com.es/