On the BBC website, Stephen Bayley writes in praise of the book, marking the most recent e-reader launch by Sony:
What is the most flexible, intelligent, interactive data retrieval system yet to appear?
It’s the book.
As a source of high density data storage, the book offers unparalleled ease of access. Data can be retrieved in sequence or at random. Image and text can be presented in any variation of density.
Stephen is perfectly able to write his own loquacious eulogy, however it does seem slightly similar to this which we posted a couple of months ago.
At the engage conference last week, Charles Leadbeater picked up the cluetrain thread with a thought provoking introductory talk on ‘we-think’ and the potential rise of collaboration in the arts, “not just in relation to marketing but at the more fundamental level of making and interpreting”.
Some of the day felt more like ways to indulge the individual in notionally interactive chances to make art more accessible, more like ‘i-think’ – but some really exciting projects from the likes of The People Speak and the Vocal project at collective gallery leaned towards more collectively engaging and effective ‘experiences’. A meaningful ‘we-think’, though I am reluctant to assist Leadbeater too much in this becoming a defining slogan.
You can see more of Charles Leadbeater discussing these issues here.
We employ a regime of curiosity: our editorial process is about investigating the potential of today’s overlapping worlds of art, architecture, fashion and commerce.
Does overspill from one field into another lead to new discoveries and productive output, or is the unexpected encounter made impossible by brand strategies and commercial considerations? The idea of ‘engineering chance encounters’ is very popular today in both architecture and urban planning — if you somehow plan peopleâ€™s courses so theyâ€™ll bump into each other, imaginative thoughts that would not have occurred to them otherwise can and will.
Potential seems to exist somewhere between the role of â€˜knowing janitorsâ€™, unlocking doors to new ideas and experiences, as â€˜deal brokersâ€™, negotiating access and as â€˜intellectual cupidsâ€™, cementing collaborations and friendships.
Quite slow to post this, but thought this editorial from last months creative review was worth a mention.
This debate seems destined to continually get stuck in the ‘is/isn’t it design’ rut. An easier way round this, and one which I think many designers currently employ, is not to become too preoccupied with debating whether someone is or isn’t a designer, but debate whether the act of design is or isn’t any good. This takes the focus off the individual, or the ‘career’, which are way more difficult to pidgeon-hole, and focusses it clearly on the act of design at hand.
I’m also minded to follow Milton Glasers definition of a designer as someone who “conceives of, and sometimes executes, a plan to move from an existing condition to a preferred condition”. To be clear, he means that this decision making and problem-solving would make you a designer – whether you are a good designer, or the individual piece of design is any good, is a completely different matter.
The BBC today report on a German Fashion House which is going ‘open-source’ with it’s designs, and by association, it’s ‘brand’. Fashion designers and DIY typography is an issue that will have to wait till another day.
Another great post at Brand Avenue, on the rebrand of Belfast – a remarkably reserved and non-judgemental report (so this is where I wade in) of yet another simplistic one dimensional civic rebrand, employing the highly improbable, (but oft-repeated) approach of trying to differentiate a place through the deployment of exactly the same simplistic strategy, logo and sloganeering of every other second, third, fourth city in the uk.
If you don’t believe me, read the following quote from Belfast Mayor, Tom Hartley, and try replacing the word Belfast with Leeds, Glasgow, Edinburgh etc:
“We shouldn’t forget our past as it is important in determining who we are. But this is about here and now and it is about the future, and what a future we can have if we pull together … This is not about a logo on a piece of paper. It is an opportunity for us all to embrace a new, vibrant and forward looking identity and ethos which says that Belfast has come of age. We all know how unique the city and its people are and now we have a golden opportunity to take the message that this is Belfast’s time, its moment and we want to share it with everyone. Be inspired.”
This Guardian slideshow shows the range of marketing and identity/image building work for presidential hopeful, Barak Obama. What is particularly disheartening is the transition from slide 5 to 6, where the creativity/expression/voice of any single individual is subsumed by the party’s ‘on-brand’ placard. What would be even more disheartening is if someone found a way to measure this as being more effective. As we speak, we’re still searching for an off-brand candidate.
PostSpectacular gives us an intro to the generative book cover software for a new service from Faber – printing on demand copies of books currently out of print.
“These buildings will never look the same, not once in their lifetime” says architect David Fisher – an uncontestable fact, but whether this represents worthwhile innovation or meaningless novelty is less clear.
(And what is SUSO/SUSOLOGY, the most enigmatic brand-wanting-to-be-a-non-brand yet?)
UPDATE: Stuart in the office has just done some detective work and found out that SUSO is a carbonated fruit beverage.
Last weeks talk at the Lighthouse by Kenya Hara, author of Designing Design, exhibition curator, graphic designer and creative director of Muji, proposed some interesting ideas about ‘emptiness’.
A defining philosophy of ‘emptiness’ (as opposed to simplicity or minimalism) in both product and advertising, was something that could have been expanded upon in much greater detail, (or possibly not, if that would defeat the point), but certainly provides an interesting new starting point when thinking about the things we make and the communication we initiate.
More on this in Designing Design (see above).
I am at the bleeding-edge of interaction design. I contain information which can be accessed in many thousands of permutations and which can trigger mind altering results in the receiver. I can be used in multiple different ways by different users. I am portable. I can predict the future and reflect on the past. I make early 21st century interactive light installations look simplistic and one dimensional. I emote. I am connected through time and space via a complex network of similar objects.
I am a book.
(Henry Kelly voice optional)