In 1984 I graduated from an advertising art program to become a graphic designer. As we were leaving a teacher told the class that computers were going to be the next big thing in design. My classmates and I all looked at each other puzzled. Our experience with the single computer we all had access to was anything but pleasant, and we only used it for phototypesetting. Of course this was back in the paste-up days.
Back then design was something you had to explain to anyone who was not in the profession.
As digital technology advanced, like other platform evolutions the original focus was on infrastructure, and then came other software, networks, services and devices. Initially the primary goal was to just get things working… so in the early days of personal computing design was an afterthought, a Band-Aid. The expectation of design was limited to making things look pretty in post. This expectation limited the possibilities. We all suffered bad experiences as a result (and still do).
The good news today is that digital technology is pervasive. It’s changed the way we live, socialize, work… experience has become a fundamental theme with design at the center. While we still suffer bad experiences, there is often a choice. Choice creates competition, and it’s good to see competition around experience. It makes us try harder and think more about what’s important.
Tomorrow just about anything will be possible and so design will be the starting place.
MoMA’s senior curator Paola Antonelli made an appearance on the Colbert Report and spoke a bit about design today and tomorrow.
One reason for the popularity of Instagram and Hipstamatic is they trigger a collective memory of nostalgia with their patina style filters. Physical world patinas imply changes to a surface through age and exposure. Yet the digital world doesn’t reflect age/exposure in the same way, although it can be manufactured to. Regardless, a picture is worth a thousand words and nostalgia appeals to the masses, so voila, $$.
In the future I imagine digital patinas that are left by dear ones, or better yet me. Kind of like my stamp on the world, my uniqueness, my brand. The more I do something or go somewhere in the digital realm, the more wear and tear it would show on that place. Our marks on public and private places could look different, reflecting who we are in public and private.
Over the years I’ve followed (off and on) Philips design approaches and philosophies, especially Josephine Green, and Stefano Marzano.
I met Josephine Green in Brussels; she was on a panel for the research and academic folks. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see the panel, although I did get to have an interesting conversation about ways to think about designing for the future.
Given different circumstances, I think we could have conversed all day. We generally share similar perspectives on the people and social aspects of what we’re both doing. It would be interesting if to think about information and vision sharing outside the company, and whether we could synch with Philips or others…and focus on sharing philosophies, not IP. Consider it soul food.
Checking back in with the Philips site here are a few interesting articles.
This article, A vision of the future, is old but one I’ve come back to many times.
Making the future more tangible
Design for desirable future
Visualizing the future