Posts Tagged ‘Ray’

Phil Speaks

I spoke at this event called Design Fridays last week. It’s a long-running, subscription-based, quarterly event produced by Ray+Keshavan, a premiere international branding firm here in Bangalore. The event consists of a presentation by someone noteworthy from a given creative field, followed by Q&A, followed by dinner, cocktails, and enlightened conversation. Attendees are a nice variety of people from many creative disciplines, lively and engaged. Pam and I had attended the previous one as guests, and had a really fantastic time.

My talk was called “Desire and Digital Design.” My intention was to examine the differences between design/designers in India and design/designers in the west, and to spend some time looking at the evolution of UI design as a distinct discipline over the last 15 odd years. The juxtaposition of India and the U.S., as seen through the lens of design, is actually a very interesting subject, one I grapple with and reformulate every single day here. My working theory at the moment entertains the notion that desire is a fundamental component of the act of design; and that desire itself has been systematically bred out of the culture here for thousands of years. That’s just the top level; there are many other forces in play: politics, education, history, geography, literacy, language, religion, and more. Each has a distinct role in suppressing desire, and in turn, design. There is reason for hope, there are green shoots – I closed the talk with an examination of one particularly inspiring story – but India’s cultural model is the stream against which aspiring designers here are all swimming.

I’m pretty sure I managed to offend some in the crowd, regardless of my academic intentions. I know because they told me so ! Engaging men and women, architects, photographers, journalists, typophiles… We had fantastic talks about what India truly is, how I may have misperceived, and when we might dine together properly and have a *real* conversation :)