As I write this I’ve just finished packing and am flying back to NYC in the morning. Coming back to Saskatoon this time to talk design and participate in the juried competition was exactly what I needed after the craziness of NYC for the last couple months. On Friday night I talked about what was going on in Design from my perspective and hopefully passed on some new information that they may not have considered about design previously. As it was my first talk I thought it went pretty smoothly, though I may have talked a bit longer then I should have. The next step is to filter a lot of the ideas about observing design and turn it into a book proposal.
Living in NYC where there’s great examples of design around each corner, it’s easy to forget that design awareness is still important. Having an actual design week in Saskatchewan is a great foot forward to accomplish that. Not only for practitioners to talk with the general public but for cross disciplinary processes too. Architects, planners and other professions talking to graphic designers etc. I think this came out really well in the juried competition discussion. There was a number of different categories with one of the juried members talking about some of the broad goals of success in a particular field. For example I shared insights into successful communication in graphic design. One of the exercises that I asked everyone to do when we talked about graphic design was to turn to the opposite wall of the work and talk about which pieces they remembered. We then went through each piece to find the examples that we felt best deserved more attention.
Generally speaking towards all the different categories of work which I uploaded to flickr, some of the pieces were hurt by how the images were displayed. The only advice I can suggest to architects, planners and others should be this – hire a graphic designer to make the work more understandable on a wall. The other thing that I found slightly confusing was the lack of people in the environments and spaces. There were a number of buildings where I wondered how the people would interact with the space. I don’t think every image needs to have a person in it, but a couple couldn’t hurt.
My favourite project was a collaborative piece (sorry for the blurred image). To be in that category I believe that a number of different design disciplines had to be part of the project. To me the River Landing Tree Grate Project was a nice example of bringing the community together, telling a story in simplified yet compelling illustrative way and true to the materials it incorporated. And most importantly it showed the city that using design can enhance the environment at a cost effective way.
I have to thank Randy Hergott for inviting me and driving me around Saskatoon – it was a lot of fun to talk about design in Canada again. My only regret was not having time to see some of the other talks that went on. Hopefully next time I can. On a separate note, DesignNotes will be back to being published on a daily basis very soon – sorry for the slow down from the past week.