Seven days in the design world

The new project was set to us after we had a group conversation/debate about our position as designers in the society.

The brief invites us to consider the phrase ‘Seven Days in the Design World’ and take as a starting point Sarah Thornton’s book ‘Seven Days in the Art World – an ethnographic critique of the artists, systems and institutions, which define the contemporary art scene. It asks us to open up questions regarding the current state of the design profession and its future and importantly what the social/political/cultural role of the designers might be.

The outcome presented has to convey/define our point of view or critical position, consider  our audience and what is the most appropriate way to convey this.

What can design be? What’s the social implement? what could the 7 days be? Create a scenario? Express it in a different form? A performance? A narrative?

Is life a way of design? Who are you talking to for those 7 days? What’s your methodology?  How do you communicate design to different audiences? for example to kinds has to be something playful and interactive – use cards or a game as a tool

What is that you want to say about those 7 days? It could be one hour contained or one thing revealed about those 7 days, something scopic.

Who are you doing it for? Who are you doing it with? What’s your position? What’s the point of what you’re doing here? Is design an institution? Is it more fluid than art? Are we in a space? Is it more process? Is there a different institution for design – for art it’s galleries and museums. Equivalent of art school for design? Equivalent of museum for design? Is it the same? What’s the impact of what design is and where is it going? Are we in advertising?

These questions find me in a transition phase, if I can say this, especially being in the RCA where design/visual communication is not really defines what it is, as we are here to experiment, well at least me – everyone is here for different reasons. Personally I’m here to experiment and expand my practice even more but this gives me the feeling that when I will finish this course I won’t be named as a ‘designer’ but maybe something else, something in between.

Searching on the web what Visual Communication is, it comes up with results regarding advertising and persuading/informing/enlightening/entertaining audiences. Wikipedia says it’s only two-dimensional. But really? Visual Communication is shifting so much today towards interaction and experience and also three dimensional, it’s even combined with sound and music. So, if Visual Communication is to title the multi-disciplinary practice of all the 2D work, what is the title to include all the work I’ce just said? (interaction, experience and 3D).

To the question ‘who are you doing it for?’ I could say I first do it for me, but secondly for the public – and that answers the question where does design exist – if we consider design in the visual communication context is everywhere: in the nature – nature communicates seasons and so many others things. Advertising and pictograms and moving image is communication constructed by humans for humans. For better order of information, for achieving deliver of specific information to specific audiences, to challenge, to interact, to make life better and better the whole time. And as the years pass the public sees the importance of design and communication in the world around us.

When the tutor asked to consider our audience I instantly remembered my dad and how little knows about what I’m doing – basically he doesn’t know at all, he thinks all what I’m doing is stuff for signs on the streets, leaflets, promotional pens, promotional t-shirts and stuff for printing/newspapers/magazines. Well part of it yes. But I think one reason this happens is also cultural. Every time I said to someone older from my home country I’m doing Graphic Design their response was ‘ah great, you’re an artist! Could you come and find me a nice solution for my house? I want to redecorate it’. Which actually doesn’t make sense – first you tell me I’m an artist and then you tell me to decorate your house! Anyway, concentrating on my dad, if I had to explain him what graphic design and visual communication is I would have to start form the very beginning with the pictograms in the caves and stuff. Also, the way and the tools I’m choosing to communicate all these to him have to apply to his education background and his profession – he has only finished high school and he’s a builder, so he needs more tangible stuff to see so he can understand what I’m talking about. The difficult thing is that in his profession he doesn’t use any conceptual processes, all he does is using his hands and some simple calculations. So how am I communicating something that has to do with ideas to someone who doesn’t work with ideas? That’s a big problem I think. Also I personally need to clear up what I’m actually doing here, than ‘a bit of everything’, maybe I have to go back to fundamental definitions about visual communication – but do they really apply today?

One way to communicate this with him is to take one of his processes and apply them to design – like a simple wall, how is it built? Maybe what he does is design too? Thinking about this I started looking how to build a wall, and understand it:

What’s the equivalent design process of building a wall? A good foundation could be a good idea. And building the wall the development of it. The finishing is the visual appearance of the design. A wall also works in a grid.

So, the perfect scenario is to find a tool of communicating this with him and do it, although I can’t do it right now as we can’t have this interaction – and as he needs things tangible I can’t do it through skype! So maybe the best I could do is to construct the conversation and the way of teaching my dad was design is? Let’s see..


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