Detective Note

Vol.046 – What is the definition in between of ‘Lighting designer’ and ‘Lighting planner’


Lighting designer’ VS ‘Lighting planner’

Interviewer: Karen Huang


Karen: Mende san, today I would like to talk about the definition in between ‘Lighting designer’ and ‘Lighting planner’ since I thought about how we could define the direction or the ‘concept’ for the title of ‘lighting designer’. Just in my own opinion, the feeling of naming ‘designer’ and ‘planner’ are slightly different. Feels like ‘designer’ should pursue more creative and innovative ideas on design work, even though that is kind of challenging works. The other side, ‘planner’ feels like to support more accuracies of demand and standard regulation. If you could easily interpret that ‘designer’ may be more close to the art field and ‘planner’ shall be close to the engineering field. Of course, that is purely based on my own thinking. Our company name is ‘Lighting Planners Associates’. May I ask the reason why Mende san has chosen the ‘planner’ instead of ‘designer’?

Mende: Well, do you feel the word ‘planner’ is strange? Haha~I still remembered it very clearly when I was considering the company name. At that moment, I asked Mr. Paul Marantz about the name ‘Lighting Planners Associates’ and got some feedback. He said ‘why you don’t call your company name to be ‘MENDE LIGHT’’? Actually, it was a very surprising feedback for me. I didn’t want to reflect my name on the company identity. But actually in the USA, it was not so common to use ‘designer’, but used be called lighting consultant.’

Karen: That means, ‘word’ is the thing to reflect each country or the society’s point of view which they would like to achieve. I mean, for example, most of the creative person is called ‘designer’, and they try to create innovative and novel ideas to reflect on their project. And some person who are called ‘consultant’ prefer to standing on the consulting position to point out the solution.

Mende: Yes, we can say that consulting has a very wide range of meaning on a variety of fields. Sometimes I feel that the consultant guides people based on their previous experience and offer the most reasonable and suitable solution. ‘Consultant’ might be provided with the solution, but not for training someone. Also, it is different from my intended goal. Therefore, at the moment, I considered which word I should use for the company name ‘designer ‘ or ‘planner’.

Karen: I see, and just from my own point of view, the word ‘designer’ may give an impression of a person with more creative and artistic ideas but the ‘planner’ feels slightly different from ‘designer’. ‘Planner’ sounds like systematic and calculated to proceed the works. If we just talk about the lighting design field, I think that planner is much closer to the engineering field and has to be more focus on the details of installation works. I’m not sure whether this kind of thinking is reasonable and correct, but these are differences in what I imagine ‘planner’ and ‘designer’.

Mende:  It’s an interesting point of view, but I don’t agree with that. Both of ‘designer’ and ‘planner’ should be creative and stand on the range of engineering and art. For me ‘designer’ seemed a little bit lighter than ‘planner’ at that time.
When I studied design at art university more than 40years ago, people recognized design as a kind of ornament or decoration, sometimes as a spice of the main course. I disagree this narrow view.
Now I don’t care to be called ‘lighting designer’ instead of ‘planner’, but I hope LPA won’t be just artistic or conceptual designer party.

Karen: Completely agree with you. Although it is difficult to explain or define what differences in between of some ‘words’, more important things we should know are what our own way is and what we should be achieved. I’m grateful to share the ideas and opinions with Mende san today.

Mende: Yes, it is hard to explain it as well. I think most of my comments might be a little expectation for the future.