The estimable Alice Rawsthorn makes a fascinating observation in her piece that appears on the New York Times‘s website about mass-customizable design software called Digital Forming:
There is nothing new, for the 99 percent of us who aren’t professional designers, in participating in the design process or personalizing the end-result. The super-rich have always been able to do it. (My favorite example is of the billionaire sheik who commissioned a designer du jour to create a six-wheeled “stretch” Aston Martin for him.) And the poor have had no choice but to design for themselves. As Emily Campbell, director of design at the Royal Society of Arts in London, points out: “Necessity remains the mother of invention in many countries.” Think of the ingenuity with which the Chinese convert ramshackle bicycles into makeshift trucks, and African farmers make new tools from old ones.
Nurturing the Inner Entrepreneur (New York Times)