Design is to smurf, as smurf is to smurf

I don’t really remember the Smurfs from growing up, but I do recall hearing that they used the word ‘smurf’ to mean almost anything, much to the confusion of any human listening to their conversation.

A quick check on the Smurf Wiki, where else, confirms:

The Smurf language is basically a variation of a human language where the word “smurf” is substituted for whatever noun, verb, adjective, or adverb is being used.

’Smurf’ then to my mind is synonymous with the word ‘design’. And like a human trying to converse with a Smurf, I feel frustrated as hell that the word design is so ambiguous and unhelpful.

As ‘a designer’ I feel this announcement is a bit of a coming out, but after ‘design’ was our With Link word the other week, it prompted me to think more aloud about my long held frustration with the word and its equivocations.

The diplomat in me says each to their own, and that it’s OK maybe that the definition is varied, argued and changing. But the designer in me thinks it needs to be clearer. The word needs to be more exact. A definition agreed on across all industries. It needs to be better designed basically. Not that it every will or could be. I do realise that.

This is obviously just an indulgent proclamation rant that nothing can ever really be done about, but for me it does genuinely feel good to let it out.

I hate design. I love design. And I need to better define what I believe it means.