Design For Thought


Read Between the lines: It is cultural misogynism

After a long time, I think that it was the article I read which awoke this need to write once more on cultural references and semantic reactions that tell the tale of a deeper, subconscious, unconscious interpretation and expression of, in this case, sexism and misogynism. Before I start the amateurish analysis of Scott Adams’ text, I have to say that I do and do not consider myself a feminist. Once again, the meaning of words and their interpretation with the weight and burden they carry for each of us needs to be clarified, needs to be determined. I am a feminist in the sense that I believe I am not inferior or superior to any man just because they are a man and I am a woman; I am equal, I am human just as a man is. I am a feminist in the sense that I refuse to indulge and mindlessly accept the beauty “ordonnances” given to women about their bodily hair, the way their genitals are supposed to smell and how they should act in the presence of a man regarding their intellectual capacities. Men do not define and filter everything in this world. On the other hand, I am not a feminist because I strongly believe that the minute a woman utters the words “women rights” women stop existing in the realm of human beings, therefore not having to speak about “human rights” anymore. I am also not a feminist in the sense of the hysteric term of the word (it is a cliche to say that feminists are hysterical, but I have experienced it first hand, they can be). There has been male oppression, but there is much that has been done, albeit there still is so much more to be done. Continue reading



Challenges

The greatest challenges an agency like X faces come directly from the nature of its clients. Having chosen to exclusively work with international institutions and organisations, NGOs, the academic and cultural sector there are quite a few obstacles, challenges and trade-offs needing to be met and faced. Although it may seem as if the clientele is fairly uniform and the needs would be a pattern on which to perform, the case is not quite the walk in the park…

One of the challenges X is called to face is the nature of each institution and its unique character. Aspects such as hierarchies, bureaucracy, workflow and types of projects are different from organisation to organisation. Each one has its own procedures of dealing with their needs, with publishing public tenders and outsourcing. Here, tenders and procurements are key words which define the very nature of this challenge. Continue reading



Planning for re-branding

ZoiI am currently working for a design company whose clientele comprises only of international organisations, institutions, NGOs, the education sector etc. They have offices all around the world and clients from New York to Mumbai. With an experience of 20 years, various partnerships with printing houses, external graphic studios etc. they provide all kinds of services based on graphic material, from the design and the campaign to translation and delivery anywhere in the world. Apart from the fact that they are in an advanced position given their market segment as a definition, they have also done a very smart thing: Since their clientele is sensitive to such matters, they made sure to get as many corresponding certifications, for example they have three ISO, an international certification for labour rights and are now about to receive their third for low CO2 emissions. They asked me to provide them with a new identity pack, a new identity approach and consult them regarding their stationary and generally their presentation graphic material. Continue reading



The Sofa Evolution

luckyminiDuring another lecture in Aalborg University, a professor explained to us something that I would like to use for future reference and why not, if I ever become part of the education core, I would like to teach pupils too. She demonstrated the transition of the sofa, couch and coffee table ensemble from a mere “sitting room” in the 60s and 70s to the “living room” it is today. Alright, picture this: for those who are old enough, we all remember our grandma’s or aunts’ living room. How the sofa was either a double or tripple-seat and always the sofa was long, how the coffee table would find itself placed right across from the sofa with two armchairs on each side of the coffee table, leaft and right, right? I will not even mention the cheesy tapestry of the 60s and 70s. Continue reading



The ignored and taken-for-granted Road signs

PrintOne of the most astonishing and long established visual signs are, of course, road signs. Using the simplest shapes, colours, images and enhancing their materials to suit contemporary cars’ high beams and generally car lights, road signs all over the world are the most common visually communicating symbols used. Some have typestting and others do not, yet everyone, even old grannies and grandads, know how to read “STOP” when they see them. I tried (and I will admit, I did not go too far) to find the history of road signs on the net and I was only able to come up with the wikipedia article as the most general that includes the most history and the most general information about road signs. Most of the other pages I found categorised and separated the road signs from country to country, namely creating a separation between Australia, US and Europe as to the colours and highway indications for exits, historical and natural sights etc. Yet, I know for a fact that there are numerous road signs – or traffic signs – that are the same for all countries: the “STOP” sign, “NO PARKING” sign, “PEDESTRIAN ROAD” sign, “SLIPPERY ROAD” sign and many others I cannot name at this late time of the night. Continue reading



Picture and word paradox

SimpleThis is going to be one of the few times the picture I post actually has something, even everything to do with the text. Take the word “simple” and write it in a complex way, as can be seen in the picture to the left. What is the visual significance of this? Does this signify that it is simple to make something complex? That it is quite easy to create something that looks kooky? Or does it mock the word “simple”? Does it immediately take away the meaning of the word, placing more weight to the complex composition of the image, therefore giving an ironic tone to the image-word ensemble?



The Beard and the Head-scarf

BasementSurfsLOGOI was in West Ham today and I remembered something I had thought about some time ago… I found it very interesting that in Europe and the US (generally in the Western world) there is an outcry about muslim women “being forced” to wear the head-scarf. Whether that is their choice or not, doesn’t matter really, because the good and civilised West knows that these women have been brain washed and culturally oppressed by their religion. I am fine with all that, no judgment so far, this is not the point I would like to make anyway.

What I am thinking, and maybe it is totally pointless and silly to even discuss it, is the fact that no one seems to comment on the corresponding oppression the more religious muslim men have. They have to take care of it, the beard is a symbol of their level of faith and it is a visual sign which communicates to the people around them which god they believe in. Continue reading