GDE730, GDE730 - Week 7

Week 7 : Expanding Borders

Firstly, I wanted to cover the second lecture we watched regarding our course. For me, this was a really great insight into what other designers think about a modern design course such as this one. I think there’s always going to be sticking points with the (older) generation not necessarily understanding how this type of course can work – for example Julian&Adrian needed clarification that we students actually communicate together. I think if they were trained in a very traditional way, understanding this course could be tricky for them and perhaps they struggle to accept that we can successfully give feedback, communicate and make relationships without being sat in the same classroom. Having said that, it’s great to see that they’re giving honest thoughts!

The main theme that ran through those interviews was how forward thinking an online course can be in terms of opening up our boundaries and, subsequently, our minds. By connecting to others designers on a global level we’re able to go outside the “traditional walls of design” and become way more open minded – I think Manchipp really solidified this for me, he came across as very passionate about advancements in technology within the industry. Not that any of us needed clarification that doing this course is a good thing, but it certainly highlighted to me that being able to work with others from across the world is way more beneficial than not having access to that! We can begin to unpick our cultural connections and open up doors worldwide.

Susanna mentioned Turner Duckworth in the introduction – their interview with DesignBoom was a really super insight into the way they work (despite the article having no capital letters and really bugging my skim-reading ability)… It’s amazing to see a successful worldwide company use local designers within their studios, personally this is something I’d love to see more of. I also love the idea of sending work created in one office in the UK to the designers over in San Fran and critiquing the work produced – I think this gives the work another level of globalised input and would really benefit the other designers to know what works in different areas of the world. I guess in having transatlantic clients means their packaging and designs need to be recognised and understood globally. I found another interview with Turner and he touched on the topic we looked at last week – the ability to “learn” as you go on this job :

One of the great things about this business is that you always learn something. One day, you’re working on the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) and learning about the search for life on other planets. The next day you’re selling toilet paper.

Again, I guess having offices across two countries means you can tap in on so many other resources and specialists in the different areas.

Utilising the knowledge across the pond that all designers can come together and work on something despite being hours apart, means they keep the cultures entwined; they’re always learning, always acknowledging other cultures and always talking. For me, this is a very successful model for collaboration across the world.

Similarly, Ken Kirton touched on this idea of community/culture focussed work and and how they are still learning to communicate effectively and work together whilst being in different time zones. I find it refreshing to hear that, despite Hato being well established they’re still trying to improve their communication skills.

For this week’s challenge, I think it’s so important when working globally to still consider the local community – Kirton put this perfectly that even though they work on a global scale, they look at co-creation with the community rather than for the community. This was highlighted with the work they’d done with the Liverpool Bus – instead of creating something they think would work for this bus, they chose to use the designs of children in the locality. It’s so important not to lose that local inspiration, I think working on a global scale runs the risk of losing touch with localities and so I think this week I’m going to look at how we can use collaborative tools to bring local communities together in design. A way of connecting local communities across the globe to bring inspriation from these different areas is amazing and gives a whole new perspective to the work produced.


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