It's a mindset
Illustration and Visual Media
"What is something that has surprised you about design?"
When you type in ‘design definition’ into the Google Search engine, it will describe design as a plan or drawing produced to show the look and function or workings of a building, garment, or other object before it is made (Lexico, 2019). To no one’s surprise, as an artist, or as I identify myself, a creator, we think of the aesthetics and visuals when design is mentioned. Of course, there is so much more to that than just the appearance of things, for example the process, the thinking, and the calculations that result in the creation of something. Over the past few months, I have had the chance to work in an entrepreneurial setting and that opportunity will forever change my perspective on design.
We often associate design as this renowned topic, known to be linked with the profession of designers, brands, and of course, the meticulous process of creating a commercialised product like a car or household appliances. The similarity between all the things I listed is that they always have a physical outcome, an item that can be used or held. So, what do I mean by that? After working on business units, where everything needs smooth planning and things to be done on time for the final event to work out, I realised I’ve been designing the whole time. Design doesn’t just exist within the creative industry as a decorative work, I have realised that it doesn’t have to be something that is tangible because it is not. It is a mindset to be developed, used, and improved. Suddenly, courses like Design Management and Graphic Branding makes so much more sense to me.
If you told me years ago that design is a way of thinking, I wouldn’t have believed you because I couldn’t see it, how is it supposed to be design!? Working as part of the WOW Christmas Pop-up crew was an exceptional experience. A lot of the times, especially as students, you work off someone else’s idea and you provide essentially ‘your version’ of what was asked. With the pop-up shop, we were able to work from the ground up. There were parts that needed to be consistent such as our values in being eco-conscious and only selling goods that were created from upcycled materials, other than that, my team and I worked really hard into designing, setting up and meticulously planning out the logistics to make sure the event would be successful. After a month of regular meetings, material scavenging, and constant improving our idea, we as a collective have transformed a vision, an idea that was in our heads, into something that happened. Design is no longer just a plan or a drawing, nor is it JUST based on aesthetics but a process of giving life to the seeds of creation that existed in our minds.
Something else about design never fails to amaze me is that it constantly evolves. It is like that bottle of wine in your cellar, it ages well. You would’ve thought that ideas would eventually run out, like the groceries in your pantry or non-renewable energy but design? Not so fast. The community for design is so good at innovating and generating new concepts that revolutionises our perspectives. The fact that anything can be an inspiration never fails to boggle my mind and that is all the collective efforts of us creatives keeping this well of ideas fresh.
If you’re asking me for an example, I guess I would have to say none other than memes. The first viral meme was created in 1996, by a graphic designer to showcase how movement could be programmed and projected through a software he created which was shared via forums and emails (Gavin, 2018). Looking back at the early days of what defined a meme, it is simply just an image or gif with bold, capital letters in white with a black border. Now we have evolved to including social platforms, videos, and so much more into our encyclopaedia of memes. The ability for people to find humour in anything is an admirable trait. As a frequent Reddit user and a JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure fan, seeing other user’s creative renditions of the anime in alternate scenarios, universes, and style provides me inspiration every day. Although all I can provide for them is an upvote, others are creating and providing them inspiration for their next post.
The creative culture is relatively simple, we feed of each other and create work viewed from our own perspectives. That work is then fed off by other individuals who gets inspired to make different designs of the related topic, or not, it could be used for anything. A creative stimulus is a creative stimulus, once you’ve received it you can decide on how you want to use it. We all see things differently because we grew up being exposed to things and situations differently, which has allowed us to process and see things in ways others perhaps cannot see. This is what makes design so amazing and so enticing for me. Being able to look at pieces and thing ‘how did they even think of that’ is one of my favourite things about being in the community. The visualisation of their mind, how they think, and the way they direct their thoughts through a design helps me learn of ways to solve my own problems. Design will come in many forms but it, as a core, will never change. I hope to live indulged in this never-ending stream of brilliance for as long as I create.
Lexico (2019) Definition of design in English. Available at: https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/design (Accessed: 20 November 2019).
Gavin. B. (2018) What Is a Meme (and How Did They Originate)? Available at: https://www.howtogeek.com/356232/what-is-a-meme/ (Accessed: 21 November 2019).
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