In a few lines I tried to cover the basic things discussed at the symposium. If I left out important information please feel free to contribute!
In a period of democratization and economic crisis, all speakers agreed on advising the new designers to expertise and find their niche audience. Daniel van der Velde commented on today’s reality where many people believe that design is easy and fun to do and is considered more as a hobby, than as a profession. “Find your way to manage your budget and create space for self-initiative projects, to establish your identity as a studio.” he said, like Metahaven did with Wikileaks and Sealand.
Irma Boom advised us strongly not to compromise, to follow our vision and not to focus on the average reader. In her case, she sees herself as a designer who tries to preserve the form of the book. “Pdf and e-books are easier to have, distribute and link, but they don’t have this quality of correct and long lasting information, as books. A book is a complete entity.”
On the other hand Thomas Castro from Lust, showcased their project for mobile tablets “Architecture xyz app”, which for me is the equivalent of the book in the digital age. Is a whole entity, but is also dynamic. As Lust state in their website “The tablet computer promises to be more than the missing link between printed and digital media. It is a platform on its own where design, interaction and content need to be redefined.”
So the question comes to whether the man should follow the machine or the machine the man. Wim Crouwel answered that by showing the “New alphabet”. He also explained about his systematic approach, which stems more from his inspiration from architecture than from graphic design. And this is where Jan van Toorn agreed.
Jan van Toorn used the reference of Rem Koolhas to explain that “Culture is re-definition, re-interpretation and re-invention. A way of exploring and mapping the world again and again and telling stories about it – comment it on the way it is, or seems to be.”
In all cases, except maybe Irma Boom, the speakers highlighted the importance of having a “laboratory” next to the studio, in order to experiment, stress the limits and bring the graphic design discipline forward.