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Travel for design inspiration

Two years ago, I went to Beijing for the ICOGRADA international design congress.

It was one of the best decisions I have made. Not only did it let me visit an extraordinary city and culture, but it opened my eyes to the clash between culture and design.

Besides having my temperature measured every time I entered the conference (it was bird/swine flu scare time) I have a memory of walking into an exhibition space to see an exhibition of new font design. It hadn’t occured to me that these would be Chinese characters. I suddently felt disposessed – culturally at sea.  It took a few minutes of looking at each example, and then looking again, and slowly you could see the parallels with western fonts. Serif or sanserif, casual or formal, and whatever the Chinese character equivalent of script is.  The application may be different, but it was almost like the design principles were the change.

So if you want a few dexign principles that you take for granted challenged – try attending the  Design at the Edges IDA Congress in Taipei this year.

The conference theme will travel to the edge of design, where it overlaps or dovetails with other disciplines – communication, science, technology, government and business, and where it is at the ‘cutting edge’ – the radically new, the controversial.

I’m going to try and be there – hope some of you will be too

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