the new design landscape

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This is [a digital version of] a printed version of Erwin Slegers' documentary movie "The New Design Landscape" (watch it at: https://vimeo.com/120899089). What does it mean to be a graphic designer in a world in which social, economic and technologic mutations are rapidly and constantly shaping the way people communicate? What is its role in the new society? The questions raised in the video, together with some statements and defined positions, made me think about this remediation: I have transcribed all the content to 'translate' the movie in a booklet. Expanding the time of the fruition and transforming the viewer in a reader, the relationship with the content of the interviews changes completely too. This small booklet is designed to be a tool through which is possible to assimilate better the concepts expressed in the movie, digest them and also criticize them. "Does the discipline of graphic design still exist?". Yes, it does. It is just changing.

TRANSCRIPT

  • THE NEW

    DESIGNLAND-SCAPE

  • THE NEW

    DESIGNLAND-SCAPE

  • CAST Kirsten Algera Jasper Hauser Felix Janssens Dimitri Nieuwenhuizen Jan van Toorn Annelys de Vet

    ASSISTANT DIRECTOR Nikki Brrrmann

    CAMERA/EDITING Jan van den Nieuwenhuijzen

    EDITING/VOICE OVER/COMPOSITION AND DIRECTION Erwin Slegers

    WITH THE COLLABORATION OF Bieneke Bennekers Max Bruinsma Cornelis Bos Raw Color Marcel Feil Hansje van Halem Femke Herregraven Hoaxhoaxhoax Mark Horn Thera Jonker Ymer Marinus Arjen Mulder Dimitri Nieuwenhuizen Henk Slager Peter de Vries Arnoud Warschauer

    ORIGINAL VIDEO AT https://vimeo.com/120899089

    A printed version of Erwin Slegers documentary movie The New Design Landscape

    Designed by Giorgio Ruggeri

    THE NEW

    DESIGNLAND-SCAPE

  • 5 Dimitri Nieuwenhuizen It is very important to question everything you say and do. Jan van Toorn The world looks towards us for critical design but I dont believe it. Annoys de Vet I definitely think that design can put the world in motion. Jasper Hauser The designer is not only a person that can solve visual problems but also a person that can solve problems, period. Kirsten Algera Craftsmanship plays an important role in our society. Felix Janssens ...And that is for me the reason that I have nothing to do with the idea and with the term graphic design, because the discipline doesnt exist anymore.

    JvT We try to understand why graphic design is positioned as it is. It has an important role in media that cannot be ignore. It has to do with media landscape that has totally changed, but it also has an important economic com-ponent. In addition to a facilitative component it has a totally different role, and this problem continues to play on. If you look at design theory and you compare that with theory in architecture there is a world of difference...In that sense design has developed. I am current with the developments in the theoretical field because of my experiences in America. It remains an academic, written pursuit...how you can handle something, for example. But when you talk about methodology, strategy, or the processing of making, the sensitive side of it...there is nothing to be found. FJ The biggest change that technology and social media has made is that communication no longer has any form. Where Dick Effers made his impact on the citizens of Amsterdam with a beautifully designed poster inviting them to come to a performance or shop, this is now done with Facebook, Twitter and In-stagram. So the value of a designer is not in the designing of the message, but in the organisation of the message. KA In the past you got a text, a client, you made a book. Now, you are developing for a website, for the internet, for something that goes viral, that has different audiences; that has its own life, and could be changed or copied by someone else. You will be confronted with conditions that are never the same: how are you as designer going to make your point, and how do you frame it?

    What does it mean to be a designer

    in this new reality?

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  • 6The New Design Landscape

    AdV In the information era that we are living in I find that the role of an information designer, editor or conductor is more important than ever. In this way the professional field is growing. If we look at the field of graphic design twenty years ago...When I was a student, we were thaught to design the infor-mation, to think about form and typography, we were encouraged to think about form and concept. If I look at the progression now, and what we are doing at the Sandberg Intituut, its not about designing the information, but its about how we deal with information. It means that you have to understand the information and that you have to understand form, the meaning of image, the meaning of propaganda, the meaning of context, and how to interpret it, how to reflect on it. So the focus of designers has shifted, but the field itself has not. FJ The field of design has no limits. Since the introduction of the computer, of social me-dia there are no borders anymore, since the introduction of the 3D printer....Everybody is a designer, from Papanek it is more true than ever. So the design-er doesnt design things anymore but designs conditions: how new things can be made, experiences that can be consumed. DN What I find a very interesting discovery is that the possibilities become broader. We discover different ways of communicating with each other at the same time we search for ways to commu-nicate better with each other. All the new forms have their own limitations. AdV A very nice example of a project, where the designers voice is the starting point is a project, Taxodus, from Femke Herregraven. She had a short residency here at the Zuidas, she was curious about companies that were locat-ed in Zuidas and discovered that there were more companies than buildings. She went to the chamber of commerce and made a telephone book with all the businesses and she discovered that there were many companies with oil in their name, or only numbers; there were man post office box companies. Next, we invited Femke to do a masterclass at the Sandberg and Media Funds and she developed the research further, and in the end she thought of making a game out of it, an online game, Taxodus. The object of the game is to avoid paying taxes worldwide depending on where you place your company, in which country, you have different tax laws. At the end presentation there was someone from Dutch television, they found it so fascinating that they made a program about it. Femke worked together with journalists from the financial newspaper who specialized in offshore practices. The moment the documentary came out and the game came out, it became a media topic how the Dutch law favors big companies who are located here: we realized that the Netherlands is a big tax haven. It was questioned in the parliament, it entered the media and became a topic of public discussion, and it became not only a success for Femke. The convergence of the different research, I think it is an amazing example of how you as a designer can

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  • 7A printed version

    tell a complex story and how that translates to a very broad audience. FJ I think that designers must be able to create richness in their topics, around certain themes, develop visualizations, raise issues and form connec-tions, and those components...you can work on giving form to the world. If we speak about how we live in the world or we talk about culture or about sustain-ability or healthcare, these are all themes that surround us, those themes are untouched and no one owns them. Those are unique opportunities for designers to work together with other parties, not only clients but also other stakeholders. There is no longer a contrast between commisioner and contractor or producer and consumer. Airbnb would not have got off the ground if they had to wait for a client. No, there were people in this world who wanted to sleep cheaply and were other people who were able to facilitate that using software. And that is the great success of Airbnb that now has, at this moment, more rooms than all the Hilton hotels put together.

    We are standing on the eve of what is perhaps the biggest change yet in the

    discipline of graphic design. We are looking at a new horizon

    where unexpected alliances with other disciplines is of vital importance. Now the questions

    arises, does the discipline of graphic design still exist?

    KA We could say that a graphic designer is a writer, a producer and many other things, but his main tool is still the image, the visual. Thats why its so spe-cial. Its something you can read and has an effect. Graphic designers are aware of that, but cant explain it very well. Neither can clients. So you often end up

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  • 8with a sort of non-conversation, in which designers cant articulate it and clients dont bother asking, for fear of asking a stupid question. JH Theres a reason I set up my own business: its because, especially after leaving the academy, its so difficult to work with clients. They have their own will, their own ideas. I always found that interesting, but difficult. Setting up your own business lets you become your own client, thats probably even more difficult. The closer the client and designer, the better the final result. What works best for me is being your own client, or working very closely with a client: you set out together to discover what youre going to do, why youre doing it, how youre going to do it...the more you work together the better the result. Not all clients are open and flexible enough for that, not all clients even understand it. DN As soon as you start a project you have to ensure youre on an equal footing with your client. Thats a crucial difference with the past, when you were more a servant passively carrying out a clients instructions. There was a dinstiction between working on behalf of a client, expressing his intentions, or conversely offering resistance, almost as a form of protest. AdV If a client says, Thats how I want it, so take it or leave it, the designer should not agree to those conditions. They need to survive of course, but should not abandon the principle of an independent position. Collaborating on those terms is not good for the de-velopment of the design profession or for relationships in society. FJ In this new reality, which already exsists though we still have to disvover it, the client is now a partner. Sometimes you know him, sometimes you dont. I like the example of Blo