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After the Future of Design Talk | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

After the Future of Design Talk

The future of design

Of all the design lectures that I’ve been to, Mediabistro’s The Future of Design was above average though I think the title was slightly misleading. The invited guests were Etienne Fang, Rie Norregaard, Elizabeth Pastor, Leslie Wellott and moderated by Chee Pearlman. If anything the talk was more about design process and less about how designers are going to be working in the not so distant future. For those in the audience that weren’t expecting such a process driven talk, it may have been information overload. Of course that’s not a bad thing if you’re one of those people that’s tired of just seeing the slide show of a designers greatest hits. The panelists were all articulate and didn’t always agree with each other, though I started to get the sense that they’ve read the same books on the idea of design, been to similar conferences and visited the same websites. Rie seemed to be the most hands on in terms of designing in the digital world while the others were much more on the defining the design problem and passing it on to someone else to execute. Personally I think those positions should be merged, but in a world of specialists that’s often not the case. I also thought it was telling that a couple of the panelists were not originally designers when they started their careers. Another feeling that I got as the talk went on was that if I had spent a couple hours on each of the speakers respective sites, I may have got the same amount of content. Each person backed up what they said, but it also felt that it’s the same thing that they’ve spoken about a hundred times before. Technology was briefly spoken about (I think I heard myspace mentioned once), but I never got a sense of how they’re taking advantage of the time we’re in now and how that’s going to effect things down the road. Maybe that was where the role of the moderator could have dug a little deeper. There was the standard audience questions about “how do I get a job” and honestly I can’t remember what other questions were asked. I didn’t leave disappointed though at the same time I wished the talk was less about an ideal of design and more about where they’re taking design.

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