Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Design for Mankind = Food for Brains.

I wanted to share a whole slew of photos today, but I left my camera at work, so I've decided to up the ante and share some video instead. I was tipped off to Design For Mankind's Dialogue Series through contributor Kate Bingaman-Burt (from Obsessive Consumption) and whenever I stop in to check on the series I'm fascinated by the topics of discussion.

Design For Mankind - Dialogue Episode 8 from Design For Mankind on Vimeo.

In this episode the contributors talk about the future of art and design. What Craig Atkinson has to say is particularly fascinating. His basic point is that we saw graphics look really crisp and hi-tech in the 80's and 90's. Design that bears a more handmade aesthetic is something of a reaction to that era-- perhaps the apex of which was Starbucks Christmas 2008. In any event-- what's next? We've come to a place where the most current art of our time bears that sort of home-spun, handmade look. See illustration sensation Julia Rothman, for example. Basic line work like hers is HUGE in illustration right now. Or the entire soundtrack of Juno (which bears a basic line work cover) -- particularly that folksy theme song which you can now hear tweaked on endless mainstream commercials. Commercials which also LOOK handmade! Its everywhere!

As someone who not only participates in this design zeitgeist by hand painting signs 40 hours a week, but also hand painting faux sewn stitches onto handmade signs, I am curious to see what happens next. I recently made this poster for an upcoming MICE show:

Design doesn't get much more handmade looking than being popped into a .jpg of an embroidery hoop. Craig predicts that sleek design will soon make a comeback in reaction to the handmade craze, and even points to some airbrushed work he's recently noticed.

The episode prior is about the influence of blogs in the creative life of artists and designers:

Design For Mankind - Dialogue Episode 7 from Design For Mankind on Vimeo.

Blogs are a huge inspiration point in my work, but I definitely feel like its a bit much sometimes. Working too much from what you see out there on the internet can strip away your own voice if you're not also pulling from abstract, real-life situations. Its easy to feel drawn to work and say "I want to make that!" because you can, not necessarily because its the result of your own creative process. I feel this particularly with looser, more subtle images, but know that my strengths lie in making graphic work. I know that I'm not capable of working in this mode all the time, because its just not how I process visual information.

Its a lot to process-- how the work of our time is influenced by this relatively new global community-- how the handmade aesthetic is almost a reactionary force to our high-tech world and what we might do to push into 'what's next'

In any event, this series is really interesting and well worth a peek!


design for mankind. said...

Oh wow--- I LOVE your thoughts on blogs and the future!!! Wowza! Thanks for linking to the videos; this is by far my favorite project.

I totally appreciate the support. ;)

Marcy said...

Thanks so much for stopping by Erin-- love your site! My favorite part about these videos is that they are a really direct means of exploring the meaning of a web-based design community.
Thanks for making 'em!