“Design is a process, not a product” – Daniel Charny
Brought to you by LIVE magazine SA and British Council South Africa Connect ZA, #CreativeHustles is a series of free events for young people, aged 18 to 30 years, to engage with established creative industry professionals and arts practitioners. This session’s theme was: “Can Design Save The World?”, and the panelists were:
Daniel Charny – UK curator and founder of Fixperts
Sindiso Nyoni – contemporary illustrator, activist, street-artist, and multi-disciplinary graphic designer
Chris Bradnum – industrial designer and University of Johannesburg lecturer
Christa Van Zyl – lecturer at the Faculty of Communication Design, University of Johannesburg
Here are the some of the highlights of the event:
Design is a social development tool
First up on the panel was the University of Johannesburg’s Christa Van Zyl. She spoke about UJ’s “Green Week” (a project that sees UJ students develop projects that solve individual and community problems) and described how the university’s students were supporting communities through design. She mentioned one of her students, Jamie Camfferman, who designed a slick law book for the Melville Residence Association explaining the different residential laws to Melville’s residents. She concluded her talk by saying:
“Design can aid social development and urban renewal only if the relevant people are involved”.
The power of illustrations
Next up was graphic designer Sandiso Nyoni (a.k.a R!OT). Having done work for brands such as Nike, Fifa and Adidas it was interesting to hear his take on the impact of design. Sandiso spoke about his work in the industry and the power of illustration as a means of social commentary. The most striking part of his talk was when he recounted his time doing volunteer work in Nairobi last year teaching disadvantaged children art and design. The kids now run their own magazine and are currently printing their third issue.
“I draw for a living. I have a responsibility in terms of the messages my illustrations send out,” he concluded.
Design won’t save the world
The third panelist, industrial designer and lecturer at the University of Johannesburg, Chris Bradnum, spent much of his talk explaining what industrial design is. He described Industrial Design as “the marriage between art and engineering”. When asked about the possibility of using design to save the world, he gave a measured response:
“I’m not one of those people who believe design can change the world. On a smaller scale, it can create jobs and sustain the economy but the idea that we change the world is too much,” he stated.
Design is a problem solver
The final speaker of the day was UK curator and founder of Fixperts (a website that encourages people to send in videos of themselves using design to solve everyday problems) Daniel Charny. He described Fixperts as “a way of connecting design with problem solving” and stressed how the successfulness of any design project should be judged on how it affects people.
“The impact of design has to be judged on how it affects people. Design is process, not a product,” he stated.
An example of this was when Daniel played a video that showed a group in Cape Town called “ThingKing” spending the day fixing the community’s broken furniture. Daniel also went on to explain his other creative projects, such as the Maker Library Network (a project commissioned by the British Council that focuses on “the role the library as space for collaboration and exchange of ideas”) which he showcased at last month’s Design Indaba.
Asked about his hopes for Fixperts in the future he said:
“We would like Fixperts to become a word in the dictionary,” he concluded with a laugh.
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Photography by: @Ric3hard
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