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| By António Lacerda

O (Des) Valor do Design

Design has been established as a decisive influence in social, cultural and economic issues. Many texts have been published on its importance, contribution to processes, services or products, usability of information technologies, accessibilities, etc. This growing awareness has been recognised and has been the target of many initiatives and activities, which have been carried out in this respect. The government itself highlights this activity through the Year of Design, and says that its goal is to enhance the work developed in this field by many professionals, who have provided national and international visibility through their results. Declarations are voiced on the affirmation of national design, as a key area for Portugal’s development as an «innovative and contemporary» country. Various sectors, areas and industries (tourism, heritage, culture, economy, footwear, fashion, clothing, furniture, etc.) are referred to, as well as export figures, and that Portugal should continue to increasingly back design as a decisive factor in standing out from the rest and modernisation. Design stands out as a fundamental variable of the growth of our country. The importance and growth of design is referred to in terms of practice and research, of strategic lines, of internationalisation, of partnerships, etc.
And with this comment I mean the importance of design as a fundamental discipline for building a more competitive, more innovative economy.
However, there is also a matter of great importance, which has never or rarely been referred to, and which concerns the effective recognition of design and its professionals.
Design should be definitively regulated and effectively recognised by the relevant ministries. Recognising, institutionalising, as well as guiding design professionals vis-à-vis public or private institutions, through proper legislation, which defends the rights and duties of designers and which determines that design should be undertaken by designers.