Design inspiration at Semi Permanent 2013

Design for Learning

I recently attended the Semi Permanent Design Conference 2013 in Sydney. Semi Permanent is a 2 day event that brings together design professionals from around the globe to talk about their work, companies they represent, process and philosophy they embrace in their creative endeavors.

Semi Permanent began in Sydney 2003 and the memories of that inaugural event came flooding back to me as soon as I arrived, the tickets, event book, gift packs and sponsors booths evoked all of the same excitement. Such a diverse group of artisens mingling and networking shoulder to shoulder in the foyer anxiously awaiting insights from their favourite speaker.

This year Semi Permanent highlighted again the diversity of artistic disciplines showcased in the lineup. London based illustrator Sandra Dieckmann and her nature inspired illustrations to March Studio, Melbourne Architects who showcased their conceptual application of sustainable material to construct some amazing interiors around the world for client Aesop. The Motion Picture Company used their expertise and lateral thinking around current 3D stereophonic technologies to develop new ways for communicating to the audience with great success.

I am energized each time I attend this event, and amazed by the world class presenters sharing knowledge, experience, detail around processes and technique they use when creating the work that drives them to progress their creative profession.

The major stand out for me this year was from R/GA, the global full service digital production agency founded in 1977 that has restructured its business model every nine years due to the CEO’s belief in numerology. R/GA recently establishing an office in Sydney and presenters Gavin McLeod & Joshua Rowe gave a breakdown of significant creative milestones of the company over the years such as:

What I found absolutely fascinating was the 2004 R/GA business model, Stories/System. It was proposed that “story can be completely devoid of all storytelling” and that in this age of participation, providing the user ‘systems’ that enable and encourage participation actually shifts ‘story’ to the audience to then share, interact and play with greater engagement.

It highlighted how traditional ways of connecting to your audience are becoming increasingly difficult to cut through and engage yet technology channels are growing continuously. Using Fuel Band as a case study they introduced the power of Quantified Self, self-knowledge through self-tracking, and how functional intregration empowers users with measurable results.

Although Semi-Permanent is targeted at creative design professionals, the flow on effect of this design thinking influences the way we interact as individuals with environments, be they physical or digital.  As a designer I feel re-invigrated in better applying my own design principles into my service of client and am excited for the future of design thinking to improve the way we live, how we comminucate, share knowledge or raise awareness.

Feeling inspired? Powerhouse Museum presents Sydney Design 2013 from 3-18 August to ignite conversation and stimulate creativity with exhibitions, workshops and talks in a city wide program.

By Jamie Mazurek, Creative Designer at Be Learning