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This, Here: Questions

You’re reading This, Here right? Two perspectives I really respect Clifton Burt and Nicole Lavelle have started a pop-up blog for Design Week Portland. They’re posing questions I think are worthwhile. A few from them I will be thinking about:

From Nicole:

  • Is there such a thing as regional design anymore? Does Portland have an approach or style that is recognizable outside of this place? Are people traveling from outside of Portland to attend Design Week events? What impression do we make on them?
  • Where does the creative services industry rank in relation to Portland’s other industries?
  • If Portland had a design manifesto, what would it say?

From Clifton: 

  • Who isn’t part of Design Week either in events or open houses? Why?
  • Are there too many graphic designers in Portland? How many are there? What number would be satisfactory?
  • Is there a highest strata of designers in Portland? Who’s on that list? What criteria puts them there? Where are they in Design Week?

Questions from me?

Well, my primary design concerns right now are around what a designer actually can be and what they can’t be. My friend Joal Stein is in a masters program at Parsons The New School called Design and Urban Ecologies, his program seems to have very little to do with design, maybe something to do with design thinking, maybe. I’m still unsure if design thinking is real or imagined. Design is being used as a popular word to describe many different things. I understand, design is sexy. Designers are sexy. But, what are we, designers, really qualified to do? If design isn’t advertising and it isn’t craft, can it be something else? Is there a way to be a graphic designer, not be broke, and feel ok about what you are doing? 

Clifton wrote in reference to This, Here,

Design Week is about Design with a capital “D” meaning that it encompasses industrial design, fashion, 3-D design, craft, and other disciplines that fall under the umbrella of the applied arts. But the perspectives found here will be centered on the graphic arts because that is our area of experience. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that graphic designers often use the word to “design” to mean “graphic design.” That will likely be the case with us.

In the case of my questions, I’m not sure which I’m talking about. Hopefully Design Week Portland can help.

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