Saleh Baradaran Amini, a freelance service designer from Iran, currently designing an Urology clinic service, shares what is happening in Service Design in Iran
In Iran, what excites you about design at the moment?
A great deal of our economy is based on oil export and merchandising, so our traditional designers were drawn to locally made products like furniture, urban environmental elements, packaging, exhibition and interior design. Some of later stylist designers in Iran took a path towards Transportation design and generated a motivation among youngsters in Iran to become designers but most of these designs never got to our weak production lines of two car making companies in Iran. In the past decade there has been also a limited market evolving for Branding and simultaneously design management and creative strategy design mostly for service delivering entities like banks and insurance companies, which has occupied a few design professionals and got others attracted.
Though, the main evolution is yet to happen. In the past three years our design community is realizing the value that is being created through many services in our country that was missed in our traditional design education. Since we have no concrete industrial backbone and even what we have is threatened by Chinese products, everyday more and more of designers are showing interest in learning about service design and practicing it. So more and more designers are applying design thinking methods into creative designs for services, and we are all excited to explore and implement different service design tools and methods freely while the academic programs for teaching it is not rigidly structured yet.
Can you describe the development of services design practices in Iran?
There has been some projects and a few professors who have worked on service design projects in last 2-3 years and first courses in Service Design are being taught in MA programs under a course named “human and design” which formerly was dedicated to Interaction design. Two of our professors are teaching basics of service design in Iran, most known here, is Professor Alireza Ajdari who graduated from Polytechnic of Milan and mostly uses Professor Carlo Vezzoli’s material to teach service design. The other one is Professor Reza Mortezaei who holds a PhD from University of Brighton at UK so he is using Design Council and UK design companies’ like Engine and Live I Work methods, and guess I have been practicing Professor Mager and Holmlid’s methods and we are trying to integrate these views and find our voice in the community of service design. Still, service design is not recognized by the broad public in Iran, but it’s being introduced for branding, marketing and management professionals by designers.
In Iran, what do you think the future practices of design will look like?
Currently, speaking with this much of uncertainty (sanctions, possibility of war and so on.) It is not easily predictable what will happen to the field of design in our country, but while there is no escape for governments to open up to outer world, we will be embracing the emerging needs of not only service design in our country but also interaction and experience design in Indian software industry and product and service design market in China. Our country, itself, needs many design and redesigns that we hope can be done through time, by our designers in a peaceful environment with considerations of our cultural context, not by foreign invasion of consumer products and services that have changed the face of many middle eastern countries into a consumer market rather than a creative co-creator of their values in their local product-service systems.