Tuesday, May 6, 2008

what's your local flavor?

The semester has officially ended and grades are in -- whew. An interesting concept that closed out our Design History class was an awareness of the familiar, the local and how it might serve to encourage pride of place and perspective anew. Marian Bantjes suggests we 'think locally to act globally' and that one's understanding of unique attributes will best serve a community and thereby serve the greater good. In other words, 'design for all' might be missing something or rather too formulaic. This idea, while quite utopian, has made its voice heard in various movements over the last century such as William Morris' Arts and Crafts, the Modernists of the Bauhaus and even in contemporary marketing for Target. In some examples 'design for all' was rooted in social currents; a need to unite, a need for function, a plea for beauty available to all social strata. As globalization and its 'village' are stirring new dialog however, the voice of the local is beginning to sing.

My class task was to investigate an unfamiliar visual vernacular. To learn how design is completely interwoven into the fabric of a society, its textiles, music, food, color, religion, politics, terrain, etc. An article found via aiga.org is perfectly demonstrative of a similar exploration as a Mexican bakery, panaderĂ­a, embodies a culture and its 'connectivity between past, present and tradition'. I also shared with my students a few designers (images above: blokdesign, eduardo recife, jianping he) that clearly embrace a local flavor and asked them to consider the significance of this within commercial work. An exercise I found to be most fascinating, I highly recommend it, even if only vicariously or personally. Revisiting our everyday world can be refreshing, telling and inspirational. It promotes community, dialog and awareness of the seemingly banal. There is simplicity in this and it has allowed me to pause, respect and reclaim. So I wonder, what's your local flavor and how does it nourish your creativity?

1 comment:

Secret Leaves said...

Gorgeous work and lots of food for thought in this post. I have long been a fan of Eduardo Recife. I will have to think about local flavor and how it inspires my work. (Right now, my "local flavor" is a guy walking down the middle of my street at 11:55pm singing at the top of his lungs...)