What Design Might Be is an evolving presentation of constantly updated sources and references from design history with predictions and possible trajectories for designers in all disciplines. Rick shares why he continues to love design after 30 years and what he is currently excited about in the areas of design, system change, and knowledge production.
Michael Lehrer: Architecture is Optimism: The City of Angels' Better Angels
Optimism in the studio spills into the culture-at-large. Optimism transcends property lines into neighborhoods. Optimism isn't trivial, it's persevering for a vision. Over the past 20+ years Lehrer Architects LA has been working in professional and civic roles to get people off the streets and into decent housing. This talk will explore the continuum of housing and how creating HOME for someone - for anyone and everyone - is about providing human dignity, safety, love and respect through affordable housing solutions, shelters and community projects. Their projects throughout the city of Los Angeles all share a level of design sensibility and beauty not often seen in these types of spaces and provide a model of how to enhance a community by caring for its most vulnerable residents with dignity through design.
Phyllis Williams-Strawder: Getting Lost On The Way To The Entrepreneurs House
Getting lost on the way to becoming an entrepreneur is to damn common. It's usually because we take a path we don't know. We also have a tendency to take the path that someone else created. Creating your own shortcuts and knowing when to diverge is scary because you may not see yourself as a trailblazer. It's time to stop going in circles and trust that you know what's best for you.
Amber Case: Building Technology from the Human Out - Calm Technology, Humanity, and our Collective Future
Calm technology describes a state of technological maturity where a user’s primary task is not computing, but being human. The idea behind Calm Technology is to have smarter people, not things. Technology shouldn’t require all of our attention, just some of it, and only when necessary. The terms calm computing and calm technology were coined in 1995 by PARC Researchers Mark Weiser and John Seely Brown in reaction to the increasing complexities that information technologies were creating. How can we design technologies that become part of a life and not a distraction from it? Technologies that respect human time instead of deterring from it? This talk explores the concept of calm technology, a method for smoothly capturing a user’s attention only when necessary, while calmly remaining in the background most of the time.
Martin Venesky: Crossing Disciplines and Back Again
In 2014 Venezky exhibited his photographic work for the first time. Although photography had played a role in his design work for years, this was the first time it was presented for its own sake, without any client or external project brief. From that point on he has been slowly steering his work in that direction, with unexpected results. Venezky will discuss this transformation and how the two disciplines of design and photography strengthen, challenge and enhance each other in his recent work.
Jessica Bellamy: Creative Impact: Equity in Information and Experience Design
Learn about Jessica’s experiences as a creative operating at the intersection of community organizing, information design, research, and experience design. In this session, she will walk participants through impact design case studies and offer a foundation in data equity. Jessica will also share her six principles of Conscious and Responsible design, and the tools necessary to be successful in the social change sector.
Joel Pilger: Our Crisis of Unhelpfulness
Design is supposed to make things easier. Why are designers making things harder? Design promises solutions to a world of questions in search of answers. But what if the designers are invisible? Meet Our Crisis of Unhelpfulness, where clients with real challenges struggle every day to find, understand, and collaborate with creators who are all sadly floating in a sea of sameness. In this talk, RevThink consultant Joel Pilger will reveal the root causes of the crisis, as well as the discovery that has helped hundreds of creative firms around the world overcome it.
Liz Jackson: Engaging in Disability as a Creative Practice
Designers are increasingly referring to disability in terms of accessibility. But accessibility is only one part of disability; it’s the need. And it is being taught at the exclusion of disability history, disability culture, and disability theory. Liz discusses the impact of engaging in disability, not as a problem to be solved, but rather as a discipline and a creative practice. This presentation teaches designers how to design WITH, rather than for disability.
Deann Van Buren: Peace By Design
Peace by Design looks at the work of Designing Justices Designing Spaces (DJDS), along with research that explores how design in the public realm can support healing from interpersonal and transgenerational harms.
Peter Burr: Pattern Language
This is an interview that followed the exhibition of 'Pattern Language' by Peter Burr. 'Pattern Language’ is a term coined by architect Christopher Alexander to quantify the aliveness of certain human ambitions through an index of structural patterns. Some advocates of this design approach claim that ordinary people can use it to successfully solve very large, complex design problems. In this piece, Alexander’s design theories are applied towards the construction of a generative video game labyrinth resulting in a rhythmic animation made of rippling, skipping, and strobing arrays of light. The whole environment is infused with a procedural vitality brought forth through cellular automata and crowd simulation algorithms.
Tré Seals: Being Vocal
Tré was only two years out of college with a passion for branding, and all of a sudden, he got bored. “I was tired of the process of searching for inspiration only to realize that everything looks the same,” he says. “I started wondering if I had chosen the wrong career path. Once I discovered that the design industry is over 80% white and the majority male, everything made sense. When an industry is dominated by a singular experience, a singular perspective, this creates a lack of diversity in people, experiences, ideas, voices, and most importantly, creations. So in short, I started, and continue to expand upon, Vocal Type Co. for the (less than) 20% who feel that they don’t have a voice, and continue to be underrepresented, in the design industry.” His talk will cover the founding of Vocal Type Co., the importance of diversity in design, and a look at his process.
Debbie Millman: Why We Brand, Why We Buy
Why We Brand, Why We Buy is an entertaining sociological, scientific and anthropological overview of why humans buy and brand things.
John Bielenberg: When Wrong is Right
The way we solve problems is broken—we’re trapped by techniques and assumptions of the past. Today's big challenges like climate change, population growth, species extinction, and new technologies emerge at an ever-accelerating rate. We struggle to find the imaginative answers we crave and when we do, biology and culture conspire to obstruct our progress. Find out how thinking wrong can conquer the status quo and help you do work that truly matters.
Michael Ellsworth & Gabriel Stromberg: Social Studies
Exploring the power of design and how it has the ability to facilitate identity, action and connection.
Allison Arieff: Solving all the Wrong Problems
Every day, innovative companies promise to make the world a better place. Are they succeeding? We are overloaded daily with new discoveries, patents and inventions all promising a better life, but that better life has not been forthcoming for most. When everything is characterized as “world-changing,” is anything? If the most fundamental definition of design is to solve problems, why are so many people devoting so much energy to solving problems that don’t really exist? How can we get more people to look beyond their own lived experience?
Mohan Nair: The Deadly Sins of Business Transformation
How does an organization innovate when markets are transforming? Innovation is usually considered the instrument to transform organizations and markets when actually identifying transformed markets ahead and then using innovation as an instrument is more appropriate. Yet many leaders see digital, blockchain, artificial intelligence as keys to change. Mohan brings a fresh perspective to transformation. His keynote will connect personal and business transformation in a unique and memorable way. He believes that companies lose their personality before they lose their way. Based on 10 years of research and a book, Mohan will explore the power of uncovering market shifts long before they happen and how to act on them.
April Greiman: Color Is
My work interest has always been a study in, and observation of, light and space. Often technically two-dimensional, certain projects demand space around them in a specific way, attest to a longstanding relationship with architecture – the impact on the senses at different scales, creating tactile and experiential opportunity, exploring color as an object in and of itself. While scale change encourages a cycle of (re)creating, color and light play the more significant part of creating, perceiving, and appreciating ‘environment.’ Color is space, space is color, color is light. Color can heal, raise one from the dead.
Chris Do: Art of Communication
Learn how to say what you think, minus the stress, awkwardness, and friction around difficult subjects like budget, scope creep, art direction, hiring/firing, and other pain points around client/staff interactions.
Kim & Jeff Kovel: Family Album
Family Album: A Conversation with Creative Siblings Kim Kovel and Jeff Kovel, moderated by April Baer.