While talk of so-called “target groups” is omnipresent in design, few people realize that this is not a descriptive design procedure, but rather a design offence. Those who design for target groups wants to believe that it is possible to cut out targets from societies on the shaky basis of any – usually extremely superficial – criteria, in order to then unerringly bombard the supposedly uniform needs with simplistic products. Hardly ever reflected in design practice is the fact that this not only underestimates the complexity and diversity of people, but also overestimates the power of design. One prefers to indulge in the idea that it is possible to give a self-made homogenous mass its perfect fit. While no company has ever been upset about purchasing power that did not originate from their target group, hitting the bull’s eye is both unlikely and painful. After all, who wants to be part of a target group? Or even worse: who wants to find out that they are not part of a target group? Design should not do such a thing to anyone. Allowing diversity, free expression, manifold use and forms of appropriation through design are sophisticated and ambitious enough targets.
found and commented by Dustin Jessen