London Design Festival 2012: The Review

Brofessionals at London Design Festival 2012

By Admin I (and 3 gorgeous brofessional angels) : So we found ourselves in London, and yes it was our first visit (justifying the overly excited tweets) enjoying the 10th London Design Festival, evolving mainly around social design, focusing on new media such as service design and other human related practices. London Design Festival this year, is still trying to redefine design after decades of definitions, and re-definitions lacking a true active initiative, as if this field can wait 30 more years just to get an appropriate definition that will trigger a never starting evolution.

One of the most interesting events of this year’s festival’s was of Jonathan Barnbrook!

Barnbrook became involved with the Occupy campaigners when they were forced to stop using their previous logo and held an open competition to find a new one. His design beat 17 others to be chosen as the new Occupy London logo after a vote among the protesters. One very interesting work of this unconventional designer is definitely his challenging work ‘the olympukes‘ Acknowledging the commercialism inherent to the modern Olympics, making reference to the economic climate in which the Games are being staged. “Ironically, the last time London hosted the Olympics, they were nicknamed the Austerity Games, Sixty-four years later, we find ourselves back in an era of austere cuts which serves to highlight the absurd expense of the 2012 games.

Barnbrook also criticized the olympics logo that according to him and many other international designers and design houses, doesn’t represent the city of London and got totally off the cultural identity of the place.

The guy has balls, and we like that (it’s figurative, chill!!)

As mentioned before, this year’s festival focused on social design, and acknowledged the urge for every designer to be a part of his own society and accelerate social change; ‘Graphic Design’ as a practice faced a lot of criticism and many calls to save the practice from the lack of morals and the misidentifications associated with it ‘designers are not problem solvers but problem revealers, they can bring things to people’s attention without having to solve their problems.’

One additional interesting insight from Jonathan Barnbrook’s presentation, would simply be his famous line: ‘i hate the word branding’:

‘In the last twenty years, there has been rush to work for lucrative or fashionable clients, we have either forgotten or decided to ignore what design can really be used for’

And about politics and social engagement, Barnbrook wrapped up with a very conscious line: ‘that awkward feeling that we could all be doing a bit more’ pretty minimal but very powerful in its essence.

On another note, more than one topic were raised during the festival, like how to reformulate volunteer design work to be more socially conscious, and Zaha Hadid’s oh-not-so interesting talk which is highly expected from a designer that became more of a brand than an actual developing design practice.

Lebanese designers were contributing to the design week in an active way: while Rana Salam was buzzing and exhibiting her design creations, Joumana Ibrahim, a Lebanese information designer was lecturing at the London College of Communication about ‘the lack of information in Lebanon’ and how it affects information design as a professional field and teaching material. Joumana’s talk was featured in Beirut Design Week earlier this year and proved to be highly engaging.

So London was a social design hub for several days during the last week, a hub connecting all visual bullshitters of the world trying to push them into action after several years of passive flat reaction to the society they live in.

Beirut Design Week 2013, we can compete!

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2 comments
  1. Doreen Toutikian said:

    Challenge accepted 🙂

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