This year’s Cheltenham Design Festival posed the question What's the role of a designer? and What is design’s role? The day was filled with great speakers, full of ideas and thought-provoking topics. Our highlights included:
Rama Gheerawo, Director of the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design. Spoke about inclusive design and how it’s critical that we should get out and meet the people we’re designing for. How can we effectively design for people if we have no idea of their likes, dislikes and pain points? Designing for a distance isn’t as effective or meaningful as a face to face chat and a cuppa.
Architect and director of pH+, Andy Puncher gave a great account on how his team are developing democratic residential and industrial spaces to bring people together. Communal spaces that no one owns, but where people can come together and dance.
Alexander Taylor gave an inspirational account of how his dogged determination got him designing some of the world’s first sustainable trainers (using recycled fishing nets) for Adidas and Parley.
Paul Boag gave a great talk on User Experience (UX) and how design doesn’t stop at the edge of the screen. User experience is a complex journey where if any piece of the puzzle breaks down, people can be left feeling underwhelmed and disappointed. Have you ever ordered something from a great looking, perfectly functioning website only for it to turn up two weeks late and leave you feeling flat? We should be thinking about the whole process from start to finish.
Jim Sutherland & Marcus Lyon, collaborated on a truly amazing project exploring the diversity of identity, through a series of portraits and DNA tests. Somos Brasil (We are Brazil) maps the ancestral DNA, personal stories and visual identity of 100 Brazilians, which is collated in a stunning book designed by Sutherl&. The project has an accompanying smartphone app which reads the images and activates the stories of the portrait as told by them.
It was a great, inspirational day, with the reoccurring theme that design isn't just making things look good. It’s a process, a way of thinking and a valuable tool to solve problems and make the world a better place
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