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September 27, 2006



How 'bout a graphic design wiki!?

Silas Munro

This notion of "relational design" seems facinating. In a sense this social interactive breaks down our notion of fixed roles for the designer, audience and client. Various users are creating content non-linearly, but they are generating a kind of form, or manipulating the given form by adding their own content.

Myspace pages have a frenetic and viral quality because of this very organic interweaving of content and form. How could you use this as a strategy in non-myspace forms? How can you make the design process more communal. Is that even a good thing?


Check out Second Life, which was recently featured in the Economist. No matter what one thinks about video games, this is one example of users really interacting with graphic design.

Here's an excerpt from the article:

Second Life, by contrast, was designed from inception for a much deeper level of participation. “Since I was a kid, I was into using computers to simulate reality,” says Philip Rosedale, the founder of Linden Lab, the San Francisco firm that launched Second Life commercially three years ago. So he set out to construct something that would allow people to “extend reality” by building a virtual version of it, a “second life” not unlike that envisioned by Neal Stephenson in “Snow Crash”, a science-fiction novel published in 1992.

Unlike other virtual worlds, which may allow players to combine artefacts found within them, Second Life provides its residents with the equivalent of atoms—small elements of virtual matter called “primitives”—so that they can build things from scratch. Cory Ondrejka, Linden Lab's product-development boss, gives the example of a piano. Using atomistic construction, a resident of Second Life might build one out of primitives, with all the colours and textures that he would like. He might add sound to the primitives representing the keys, so the piano could actually be played in Second Life. “Of course, since these are primitives, the piano could also fly or follow the resident around like a pet,” says Mr Ondrejka.

Lorraine Wild

I too think the notion of "relational" design is a pretty fascinating one, of all the ideas you float out i think this is the issue that affects where design is going more than any of us can really grasp. All of the capabilities that people now enjoy to float their own selves out in the ether somehow argue against ALL of the old top-down, controlled, authoritative structures that really formed the background for the activities of a lot of graphic designers (corporate identity and branding are prime examples of a graphic message being formed and controlled centrally, in ways that now seem almost nostalgic). so your analysis is very astute, gets at a core of a problem(?) or a shift in the environment that we all face. What small piece of this could you break off, to study and extrapolate upon?

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