03 you, designer

Design is

creating clarity and understanding.

If I were to design something right now it would be:

I have no idea. At the moment, I’m a bit paralyzed.

James Tichenor & Joshua Walton gave a talk recently and mentioned that they use an aesthetic or approach to drive a thesis. I’ve been so concerned with trying to come up with some thesis that I never actually get to the making, the aesthetic/approach part, but I’m starting to realize it’s a chicken or egg thing. I guess it doesn’t really matter which one comes first, as long as they inform each other.

I’d love to do some print making, silk screen or risograph, make a book of some sort.

5 keywords I use to describe my design ethos

Empathy: Overused buzzword I guess, but what’s the point of design if doesn’t try to understand its audience?

Intent: Decisions should be made with intent, some reasoning. Functionality, in terms of practicality, isn’t as important (e.g. parafunctionality)

Access: “If it’s inaccessible to the poor it’s neither radical nor revolutionary.” Poor can really be substituted with any other sort of marginalized group. My own focus tends to be less on physical accessibility, and more in terms of socioeconomic factors and race, which does highlight my own privilege.

Provoke: When possible and appropriate, the artifact should inspire thought and reflection.

Contrary: Unexpected might be a better word here. Seeing things glitch and crack is fascinating. I appreciate ugly design in pushing boundaries, but empty rebellion is useless.

What do I value in the designed world?

Experiences that inspire wonder and thought.

What are my concerns as a designer? Where am I headed?

I’m trying to understand my own role as a designer. Will design change the world? It seems arrogant to say it has more potential than anything else. More companies are trying to incorporate design into their practice. Do they actually value is or is it a trend, an attempt at raking in profits? Is this just business as usual, design acting on behalf of capitalism? Can I practice my ideology or am I destined to sell my soul?

In terms of less existential-dread-y things, I think a lot of my interests are related to understanding and revealing hidden systems and structures. Things like big data, mapping, social justice, and AI tend to occupy my article reading lists. I’m trying to figure out what it means to be critical, to be constantly growing as a designer (and person).

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