I choose to start explaing my thesis by talking. This project embodies some of my ideas and lead me to a direciton I wish to explore and I felt that these ideas were better understood through this project.
This project was a documentation of the process for another project. My design solution was to steer away from the conventaional narrative approach and instead make a database of events. In total there were 85 events.
With the database of events created, I then created a script that positioned and ‘styled’ (typface, color, size) each element within each individual entry. I also programmed the script to spread them out a horizontal space. This horizontal space would later become and accordion book. But, the way I programmed it was to spread them out randomly. I did this for several reasons. Among them was the intent to increase the possible books that could be made (85 * 85 = 7225) to make the design of the book dynamic in some way.
What Exactly Did I like About this Book?
· System: In my opinion, what I had made was not so much a book, but rather a system. This system could be used by all sorts of purposes. If I wanted to make a book about my life, for example, I could just change the content of the database. The book would still be efficient as a of work of design to communicate the content. What made it ‘design’ where the rules established by me, the designer, to show this way in which it would behave. It was, in a way, an alrotitm for it’s visual behavior.
· Database: I liked that this piece of design responeded to a database. This meant several different things for me. First of all, it would be eternally dynamic. If I need this book to showcase another set of events, I could just changed the database and have my book! The book worked as a piece of design despite the fact that there wasn’t a very strong connection between meaning and design. I’m also intrested in this idea because the database has become a form of information much more prevalent than the narrative, yet it is rarely worked with in the field of graphic design.
· Dynamism: I liked the fact that it was dynamic, both in terms of content and visually. I feel that the biggest limitation of design systems is their repetitivness, but with this project I felt there was the possibility of breaking these barriers if a different mindset is taken. The fact that there were actually 7000 possiblities for on system made it much more intresting for me (even do I recognize that this is unperceivable for the human eye). What if layout, type, and color where also in some way dynamic? What if the rules were more open?
And The Point Is?
In an age where the database has become a dominant cultural form, graphic design is still deeply related to designing narratives around ‘content’. Much of graphic design is based on the paradigm that every content has its own unique design. I want to challenge that notion by creating open design systems created for content that lives in a database. These systems could have opens rules, which make them more dynamic. At the end, the goal is still graphic design. The goal is still communicating ideas visually, but in a way that’s more appropriate for the Information Age.
As I write these ideas, I imediatly recognize that there are a set of problems that this proposition implies.
· Content and Meaning: What I’m proposing is very problematic because of the disconnection between ‘what is being said’ and ‘the way it is designed’. There is no connection. The work mentioned previosly is an example of this. My main reponse to this has become: Is good design limited to design that takes specific content into consideration? I do think that design that takes specific content into consideration is probably better than design that dosen’t, but is that the only correct way to design?
· Techonology: The work presented previously relayed on certain techonologies for its execution. Is what I am propsoing only an extension of the techonology or is it an idea that could live without technology? Will my lack of technical skills for writing software limit my thesis?
· Visual Form and Design: Most of the presedents for the type of work that I will try to do are purely formal. There is a lot of digital work that tackles many of these ideas, but I’m not sure it has the possibility of being into good graphic design. Graphic design is much more than pure form, it is about communicating ideas. Is it possible to create good graphic design this way and not just something visually intresting?
I find this problem/idea is significant for two reasons. First it introduces a new methodology and approach to design and starts questioning the way we design in the Information Age. The world we live in is becoming increasingly too efficient for the tradition paradimg of design.
Also, I consider that this way of thinking of design is more appropriate to the age we live in.
· Web design: The disconect betwen content and design (HTML and CSS) is intresting. The connection is always in the mind of the designer. Also on the web content is dynamic by design is static.
· Modernism: the idea of creating systems and rules of design. Design can occur even with the separation of content and design.
· Jennifer and Kevin Mccoy: Their work comments on many of the issues I intend to deal with(the database, the loop).
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