Isabel Seiffert and I co-curated and moderated a one-day conference for Weltformat 2021. This year’s festival theme was “designing identities.”
Photographs ©Weltformat/Luis Hartl.
Panel 2: A New Sense of Identity: Caring with Graphic Design
The term "caring" seems to be omnipresent these days. It has been at the centre of recent debates in particular. Care – or caring – plays a crucial role in the way we interact and collaborate with each other and the world around us. Cooperation, and thus caring, seems to be one of the key components in addressing the social and environmental problems we currently face.
Caring for each other does not yet play a significant role in design education – neither as a specific skill nor as a social responsibility. The opposite is true: competition is encouraged and the kind of practices and visual norms that are accepted or valuable are clearly defined. What if empathy, caring, listening and collaboration became central to the design community and education? What would happen if we developed an openness to pluriversal design practices?
The guests on this panel represent a new understanding of community that opens up spaces for discussion; that connects rather than divides. Evening Class, a self-organised educational initiative, explores a range of topics such as the fusion of design practices, post-capitalist desire and the commons. Johanna Burai, a designer from Stockholm, not only brings more joy and colour into our lives, but also celebrates both her colleagues and invisible communities through graphic “love letters”. The panel also includes the Graphic Support Group, a podcast hosted by James Chae and Drew Litowitz that is not only about graphic design, but also about spiritual mantras and overcoming fears and past traumas.
Panel 3: Designed Identities: The Studio Voice
How do designers develop their personal identities, position themselves in the marketplace and define their practice? This panel will explore the ways in which designers develop a distinctive voice over time. While some consciously build an identity, for others it manifests organically and over time - through commissions and self-initiated projects. In this panel, three studios with very different approaches present their identities.
Europium is a creative consultancy and art direction duo based in Paris, founded by a photographer and a graphic designer. Actual Source is an international design studio and publishing house and bookstore based in Provo, Utah. Finally, Dexter Sinister is a duo based between New York and London whose work sits at the intersection of graphic design, publishing and contemporary art.