Two subjects that interest me most are design and geography. Thus studying where these themes overlap has created a focal point around which to base a contextual publication that documents influences on my design practice over the past three years.
Where you are born; Where you grow up; Where you study; Where you work; Where you visit — The impact that location has upon design culture intrigues me a great deal. Decisions behind a choice of colour or typeface and and how they are applied, or a certain message or tone that is delivered through graphic design varies wildly between cities and countries and is inevitably influenced by local culture. But I am interested to learn what extent does this affect their personal practice as a designer and how does it manifest itself in their work? Also, are they concious of their location shaping their practice day-to-day and would they distinguish their work as being identifiable to a certain geographic region?
The contemporary design industry – like all things – has been revolutionised by globalisation which has led to a much more connected world. Most explicitly, the internet has turned graphic design on its head. Never before had designers been able to share or see what is happening with everyone at such a rapid pace. Before, it would have been books and periodicals documenting changes in the industry but now there is the opportunity to be perpetually informed of new work, trends and technology through unlimited blogs, forums and websites. This has led to what some would call a ‘global design culture’. Since everybody can now see instantly what each other is doing, boundaries have started to blur and design work that is identifiable to different geographic areas is harder to distinguish.
This change undoubtly has its benefits since it is stressed to us that design is about communication and through our work we should be able to communicate with almost anyone. Whilst I broadly agree with this, personally I enjoy looking at design that evidences detail that you would only get through being a graphic designer that has lived in a certain place and experienced everything that would go along with it. I suggest it probably reverts to a yearning for integrity and originality in your work that most designers strive for. A specific local culture determined by a specific geographic location can add something to your work that is more personal which I think is key. Being able to identify personality in a piece of work is more likely to speak to someone more effectively and subsequently fulfil the role of communication in design anyway.This book only begins to scratch the surface of the relationship between design and geography and the questions it raises, but through a visual showcase that is intersected by articles and interviews with graphic designers from different corners of the globe, I hope to have made a start.