The publication Conceptual Commercialism – Commercial Conceptualism deals with the design industry’s challenges of intermingling the conceptual and commercial aspects to create something new. As a whole, all the topics in this book give the reader a comprehensive overview of the subject, which talks about the bridge between commercial and conceptual design respectively. It aims to challenge creatives, established designers and students, to reflect upon the complex aspects of their field.

The book addresses the shift in paradigm that has taken over the design sphere; we now have access to a vast amount of information. Not only is it easily accessible, but it’s also readily available whenever you want. To survive in this socioeconomic climate, it’s essential that we leverage this information and understand it; because the ultimate goal is to gain knowledge. Designers act as communicators to retain an essence of the past in between changing paradigms; we communicate values.

My experience as a designer, design researcher and educator is what motivated me to write this book. I won’t deny that there is comprehensive literature on design but most of these are based on the writer’s stories from practice, which is sometimes hard to relate to. At other times, design literature contains only theory but doesn’t connect to practice. With this book, I want to create a balance between both, while thoroughly reflecting on the concrete features of design and the business dimension to it.

Through extensive research, this book is able to provide readers with a proper understanding of what Conceptual Commercialism – Commercial Conceptualism is. At the same time, it depicts how designers are rewarded for their individualism rather than their ability to follow trends. A good example is the Dutch design scene, where designers maintain a continuous cycle of criticizing and re-thinking established norms.

This approach, when combined with a strong sense of individualism, is what results in stubbornly genuine designs. This unique ability to add their originality to any project is what allows these designers to add value to the commercial market.

Aside from shifting paradigms and the importance of individualism in commercial design, this book offers insights into the challenges that come with practicing design, most of which take root in the fundamental nature of the subject. Most of the examples in CC-CC are from my experience as I worked for my own product design discipline; I believe it is best to give knowledge about what you have mastered, and product design is quite fundamental to other fields of design.

I formulated strategies developed from my practical experience in a way that readers can relate to them by translating them as incidents in their own field of design. For students, the book offers deeper understanding behind facets of design and for designers; it clearly explains things of which they had only a vague understanding. By explicitly describing my discoveries in the design industry, and making that knowledge implicit offers the possibility for renewed discovery and development.

Esra Lemmens