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22 October 2011

The Art of Creating an Experience

Photo: Gerhard Kassner

Susana Rodríguez de Tembleque gave a short but sweet presentation yesterday. She spoke about two defining moments in her 18 year career. Number one was in 1997 which was what she calls her first big job and number two was in 2009 which is what she calls her first dream job.

Her first “big job” was to design a book about a Coca Cola CEO who was dying of cancer. She designed the whole book and was preparing herself for some well-deserved praise from her boss. But praise was not what she got. Her boss took down every single sheet she had put up on the wall and put them in the bin, he stuck up five blank sheets of paper and told her she had missed the whole point completely. Her job was not to design a book, it was to create an experience. This was an epiphanic moment for Susanna and has influenced her whole design career since. She seems to revel in the fact that she made this discovery so early in her career.

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22 October 2011

Tim Fendley: Legible London in 10 Headlines

Photo: Gerhard Kassner

There can be no hope of translating Tim Fendley’s talk about his work on Legible London into a neatly structured review. Such a colossal undertaking (the project, not the review) demands more space and time than can be afforded here.

So, instead, here is a 10 point summary of Tim’s fascinating 60 minutes.

1. We’re glad you’re here

Tim had been involved in a scooter accident the night before. He limped onto stage and didn’t make a fuss.

2. Look between the ears

Buidlings are buildings. They are beautiful or ugly. But they are there. The mind however is less easily fixed. If you start a system with the buildings you will create a system that relies on things we don’t care about. Having said that, despite London being a bit of an unholy mess when Tim and the team came to the project, only 3.7% of people looked at the signs that were already there; all 42 different varieties of them. So the first thing was to think about people and what makes them special.

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22 October 2011

Marina Willer: Branding Spaces

Photo: Gerhard Kassner

Look again, think again was the standout sound byte from Marina Willers’ talk this morning. The invitation to keep questioning and experimenting is pivotal to Wolff Olins work, and as she flicked through case studies of their work, each project feeling different from the next, that sense of inquisitive experimentation shone through.

Originally from Brazil, Marina talked about the influence her homeland has had on her work. Colour, rhythm and improvisation was prevalent in her solutions just as it was in her archive of photographs from home, and the optimism in adversity displayed in the favelas is a spirit she admired.

When on the subject of branding spaces, it was clear that each solution was born from collaboration. Whether working with the architect, client, illustrators or artists, each piece says something about the place it lives within. Take their work for The Tate, for example. The client’s ambition to create a more democratic space, somewhere the mass can experience and engage with art, was helped realised by using a less academic, more ‘high street’ approach to signage. The mark itself is fluid, generous and recessive, elevating artists and collaborators to the surface and our focus. The experience at The Tate is all about the art, after all.

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22 October 2011

User Experience and The Point of Singularity

Foto: Gerhard Kassner

Arriving at #typo11, as a non designer and coming from the advertising and social media industry, I was expecting to be challenged by some hardcore type nerd lingo and design-geek dialect. But I found a real sense of the familiar in the language Jeff Faulkner used in his talk ‘Extraordinary Machines’.

He contests that there has never been a golden age of user experience (UX) design and that most brands leave the ‘chaos of UX design’ to the consumer to figure out. This seemed to really upset him. He wants designers to think more about how to help regular people have user experiences that transcend the complexity of life. Making the compelling argument that design is so very important because the chaos of modern life is so very difficult.

His philosophy on UX design started with the description of four layers in user experience that next generation designers need to embrace: Platform, Interaction, Devices and Content. He talked about ‘the dynamic interplay of inputs (platform, devices, content, platforms etc.) which has dimension-alised the problem of design’ explaining that designers need to internalise and explore this in their work. Making the case that the role of UX in all of this is to ‘facilitate human curiosity’ and quite simply solve design problems for the user.

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22 October 2011

Morag Myerscough: Belonging

Photo: Gerhard Kassner

Morag Myerscough is one of a kind, her talk was as colourful as her work as was her outfit. In contrast to Jeff Faulkner’s talk it was about the user experience in the physical space. I found it very inspiring, uplifting and easy to relate to due to her enthusiastic and personal presentation.

She started all projects with the same enthusiasm no matter the size, space or country it’s in.

To get to know her she introduced us to her family and background, her home which was all about doing and making. Funnily enough she never wanted to create embroidery like her mum but showed us at least three amazing carpets she designed. Obsessed with space and Always questioning where she belongs to, Morag told us that building her own space, her house, her ‘house gallery’, her garden, made her much more confident in saying what she believes in. The same approach she follows in her signage projects where she collaborates with architects and the people who use the space. Morag tries to put a narrative into the building, it is not about creating a ‘logo’. She laughs and admits that she doesn’t even use all these graphic design terms, which shows again her personal and honest way of presenting her way of working. ‘Things come out of things’ she mentions showing us the temporary summer exhibition signage at LCC. Morag believes it is important to give the people the feeling that they belong there and that they can be local, global and achieve everything they want.  And by feeling proud of this space the people using it will appreciate it even more and therefor look after it with pride.

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22 October 2011

(Bald) Condensed Views Delayed Due To Hectic Schedule

Yesterday I had a wonderful evening catching up with my San Francisco colleagues Michael Pieracci and Meghan Arnold in Kaslik, a simply lovely Lebanese restaurant run by lovely people serving lovely food. Recommended! This meant however that I only got back to my hotel after midnight. That’s what you get when the last presentation only ends at 21:00 / 9 PM, my only qualm with TYPO conferences. Fun bit of trivia – returning to the hotel was made so much easier when we hit one of the miniliths Tim Fendley and his team designed for Legible London. They do work wonderfully.

Today I wanted to follow Type Day in Jeffrey Hall, but the dodgy internet connection is virtually non-existent there. As people seem to be following my live Twitter reports – which earned me quite a few new followers – I’ll stick to proceedings in Logan Hall. My full report will have to be written in between everything else and after the conference ends, so I don’t know when it will be ready. One thing I can already say is that yesterday’s program was quite intense, diverse and very interesting, with only one presentation lacking a little. Today is just as exciting. This will most probably go down as a memorable first edition of a very well run conference. Kudos to the organizers and the team.

Text: Yves Peters a.k.a. Bald Condensed, courtesy of The FontFeed

22 October 2011

Neville Brody: Education and Experimentation

Photo: Gerhard Kassner

Friday closed with words from a design anarchist, Neville Brody. Few designers have divided opinion like Brody, but then fewer can claim his status, widely regarded as one of Britains most influential graphic designers.

He walked the audience through numerous projects, both commercial and personal, but spent most time reminiscing about Fuse, the publication he founded in 1991, and 20 years later he is about to publish it’s 20th (and final) edition.

Tom Uglow, Creative Director of Google, had spoken earlier about his belief that the best ideas come from youth — creatives at the start of their careers who are fearless, challenging conformity, imagining ‘if’ not ‘how’. Despite his wealth of experience spanning 30 years, Brody is still asking ‘what if’.

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22 October 2011

Rian Hughes, Post-speech

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Photo: Thorsten Wulff

Rian gave away copies of one of his books away after his speech.
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22 October 2011

Rian Hughes

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Photo: Thorsten Wulff

Rian’s knowledge about pop culture is absolutely stunning. Ask him to quote lines from Blade Runner for you, he is more convincing that Rutger Hauer. But don’t mention Star Wars!
tw

22 October 2011

Tim Fendley

left miniliths all over London that make it really easy to get around…
tw

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