"Binding handcrafted books for me is not merely a way of turning back the clock, but a way of addressing contemporary issues, both environmental and social as well as aesthetic."
(Michael O'Brien, Bookbinder)
"A Step Back In Time", short documentary about Oamaru's iconoclastic bookbinder Michael O'Brien. Director: Moss Bowering–Scott, Research: Libby Dallison, Executive Producers: Richard Bell and Steve Bloxham, New Zealand Broadcasting School, CPIT, Uploaded to YouTube on 16 August 2010.
"Sven Birkerts, a modern–day Luddite, is feeling uneasy about all this rapid cultural change. He longs for the slow elegance of print culture. So much so, in fact, that the cover of his new book, [The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age], features a fuzzy caramel–colored snapshot of a naturally–lit library which houses the endangered species of digital modernity: a leather armchair draped with an afghan, droopy lace curtains, and shelves of softened leather hard–backs coveting thick yellowed pages and the tidy, immutable thoughts of yesterday's literary prophets.
Birkerts is terrified that his warm dusty paradise is being ransacked, and the remaining rubble is merely forgotten or misunderstood in a world distracted by garish, pulsing iconography."
(Amanda Griscom, 1996)
Amanda Scott Griscom (1996). "Trends of Anarchy and Hierarchy: Comparing the Cultural Repercussions of Print and Digital Media", Brown University.
Review of exhibition titled 'More is More' which opened 5 August 2012 in Gallery C3, Te Ara Hihiko, Massey University Campus, Wellington, New Zealand. The show was curated by Annette O'Sullivan, Matt Clapham and John Clemens.
"Typography forms a strong component of the Visual Communication Design programme and this existing knowledge is built upon in the Screen Printing for Design and Contemporary Letterpress papers. There was a celebration of disciplines on show, with students from many areas of the College of Creative Arts: Graphic Design, Textiles, Illustration, Fine Arts and Photography included. Many students are attracted to these papers as they provide an experimental space to explore ideas and techniques that can be applied at a later stage to other projects. Although based around traditional printmaking techniques students also employ digital technologies and equipment such as laser cutters to answer the project briefs."
(Nick Kapica, 20 August 2012, Design Assembly)
Fig.1 Hannah Milner "Our Darkest Day", wooden type printing, digital printing.
"We are a culture that increasingly questions consumption and advertising, which are at the heart of industrial and graphic design disciplines. We rely on a dynamic and constantly evolving technological platform that touches all aspects of life. There is an increased demand for service–based jobs as our country re–evaluates economic sustainability. People are demanding quality, reflective and meaningful experiences in their world.
Yet design education, as a whole, hasn't embraced these challenges and opportunities.
To be direct and explicit, educators who have taught the same foundation studies courses for years will need to dramatically revamp their courses or face irrelevance. Educators who have repeated the same kerning and hand–drawn letterform exercises will find themselves teaching at a school that simply isn't focused on typography anymore – and tenure notwithstanding, these individuals will find themselves without a role. Educators who are unwilling to retrain themselves will be replaced.
If you are one of these educators, or you work at one of these programs, you may acknowledge these necessary shifts, but find personal action to be difficult. It is difficult. And it's difficult because the shift is large, fundamental and of critical importance. You'll need to read, and take courses, and attend new conferences; you'll need to re–build yourself and your expertise in a new light. You'll go from knowing all of the answers to not even knowing the problems.
But it's no longer a matter of choice. Because if you aren't able to find a new opportunity, a new specialty, and embrace the topics described above, you may soon find yourself alone or replaced. Our subject matter is too important, and our role too fundamental, to leave to the traditions of even great educational movements like the Bauhaus. The subject of design is the humanization of technology, and as long as technological advancements continue, so the pragmatic and day–to–day jobs of designers will continue to morph. And so must design education continue to evolve."
(Jon Kolko, 2010)
Jon Kolko (2010). 'Remapping The Curriculum', AIGA | the professional association for design
AIGA Design Educators Conference "New Contexts/New Practices", October 8–10, 2010, at North Carolina State University in Raleigh
"Design thinking is ... a discipline that uses the designer's sensibility and methods to match people's needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity. Like [Thomas] Edison's painstaking innovation process, it often entails a great deal of perspiration. ...
Historically, design has been treated as a downstream step in the development process – the point where designers, who have played no earlier role in the substantive work of innovation, come along and put a beautiful wrapper around the idea. To be sure, this approach has stimulated market growth in many areas by making new products and technologies aesthetically attractive and therefore more desirable to consumers or by enhancing brand perception through smart, evocative advertising and communication strategies. During the latter half of the twentieth century design became an increasingly valuable competitive asset in, for example, the consumer electronics, automotive, and consumer packaged goods industries. But in most others it remained a late–stage add–on.
Now, however, rather than asking designers to make an already developed idea more attractive to consumers, companies are asking them to create ideas that better meet consumers' needs and desires. The former role is tactical, and results in limited value creation; the latter is strategic, and leads to dramatic new forms of value."
(Tim Brown, 2008, Harvard Business Review)