5 Things I learnt about design at agIdeas
9th May, 2009
So agIdeas 2009 International Design Week has come and gone. Rather than tell you just how awesome it all was, and it most definitely was, I thought I’d give a list of things I took away from the conference. This is not an exhaustive list. Particularly as I missed Stefan Sagmeister (don’t ask), one of the highlights and by all accounts a favourite. But I think it says a lot about the state of design, and the innovative people working in this quite remarkable industry. So here goes:
- Design is about process. Having always been a sucker for a notebook and a sketch I find people’s creative processes endlessly intriguing. Listening to Tobias Frere-Jones talk about the transformation of an idea from fleeting glance at a sign as he passed the Port Authority Building in New York to the formation of the typeface Gotham was fascinating.
- Design is about culture. Harry Pearce said that he wasn’t sure he agreed with the theme of the conference, design is difference, but that he thought after three days of meeting people and listening to the talks that design is friendship. And related to this was a common theme of the conference: the importance of thinking about how your products and designs will be used and the impact they will have on the culture that they become apart of.
- Design is about doing what you love. If you love dinosaurs make a career out of building life-size animatronic dinosaurs. If dead things fascinate you, learn to make jewellery out of dead things.
- Design is in the detail. And never was this more apparent than in listening to Tobias Frere Jones speak about the detail in his typography. Or Marina Willer’s talk about her fascination with the insides of machines.
- Embrace your inner dag. This one is close to my heart. The truth is the best ideas are often the nerdiest, likewise the best designers and creators. The mark of the nerd: obsessiveness and the pursuit of an idea or a passion at the expense of all else, including a social life, serves the designer well.
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