While futurist and socio-economists are militating for the ethic use of technology designers are all about its meaningful use.
Author: Andreea Hirica
“We can’t keep up with technology, so we need to be mindful of its use: only because we can, it doesn't mean we have to” Hannah Carter Owers, Jury Spatial and Experiential Design, D&AD 2016.
“As we move from the fantasy world of advertising through a science-fiction world of technology, we have the imagination and the tools to shape a new world” says Andy Sandoz, D&AD President 2015-2016. A world where technology is a platform for ideas. A world in which we are passengers as well as drivers (creators). For “technology not only changes what you can do with ideas, it also changes the kind of ideas you can have.” Technology cultured ideas, as Andy puts it: “ideas that understand connection, interaction and iteration.”
And which category could have been more powerfully challenged to showcase technology cultured ideas other than the human touch of Spatial and Experiential Design?
“I wanted the physical experience to be so jaw-dropping that people simply forget about their phones” Christian Davies, Spatial and Experiential Design Jury President, 2016. “Today spaces are filled with people spending so much of their time in the digital world that they are having a hard time immersing themselves into the physical one.” (Christian Davies).
We all got used with spaces filled with a sea of moving bodies attached to their cell phones, so here are some of the best in class examples of tech cultured ideas: technology used in simple yet powerful ways to “take your breath away. Literally stop you in your tracks.” (Christian Davies).
A Black Screen and Words Only
To bring the voices of young people to the attention of world leaders, Assembly of Youth was a unique installation that delivered real-time personal messages from children and young people around the world directly at the 2015 General Assembly.
With a black screen and words so that even those sms enabled only can speak, Assembly of Youth is a beautiful case of technology use in limited, wise doses, for powerful impact: to change perception, trigger action and raise solutions for global challenges. An example of what can be done, for all of us out there, when trying to avoid the first hand temptation of glossing things over with technology, just because we can.
Skeuomorphic Design, the Other Way Around
Live Vines, for Lowe
3D, mechanical, fully automated dioramas, running in continuous 6 second loops; they brought into the physical world Lowe’s loved short home improvement video tips, from Vine. With the characters designed in the style of Lowe’s digital Vines and brought to life using Motors and pistons, the physical Vines showcased tips tailored for NYC living and operated live, right inside the new store windows.
From the phone into the street, Lowe’s live Vines are just one of the many examples of tech cultured ideas, Andy’s way: with technology changing the type of ideas that you can have.
With technology used to de-clutter the meaningless and enhance the meaningful, Den Blå Planet is a beautiful example of technology in the service of education: where the museum visit experience flows, together with the oceans that it showcases.
“We are conscious as judges that what we picked sent a signal. But we saw a trend of lightness of touch: a simplicity away from the visual noise; a rarity of simple, pure design, this year. We're on the cusp of a change." Christian Davies.
In the light of tech-cultured ideas, the 2016 spatial and experiential design saw a return to: craft, aesthetics, thoughtfulness, simplicity, and mindfulness. Great ideas made big through the appropriate use of technology.
Win One, Teach One
To take the insights and discoveries further, the 2016 D&AD Annual became a Work and Learn Manual. It incites the mind to think about what the work can teach us. And more importantly, shows strategic models and creative exercises to work with and light up your imaginative power all year long, if ever your creative juices run dry.