• Opinion-lead
Opinion

Opinion: London Design Festival making right noises but graphics community needs to step up

Posted by Rob Alderson,

This week editor-in-chef Rob Alderson welcomes the London Design Festival’s renewed focus on graphics but argues this is just the first step on a much longer journey. As ever you can add your thoughts using the discussion thread below…

One of the most dismissive reviews of the Milan Salone I’ve ever heard is that “it’s all just about chairs.” While that’s not a charge that could be justly levelled at the London Design Festival (LDF) it is true that in the past the annual design jamboree has been accused of concentrating on some parts of the industry at the expense of others, and graphic design has more cause than most to feel overlooked.

So it was good to hear deputy LDF director Max Fraser explain at last week’s press preview that for 2013, there was a real focus on trying to bring graphics more to the forefront of the festival fold, a tacit recognition of its previous sidelining. This ambition manifested itself as a whole weekend devoted to graphics at the V&A and two exhibitions at the museum – Domenic Lippa’s Circular magazine showcase, and Collate: An experiment in collaborative publishing by London studio Six: Thirty (for which – in the interests of full disclosure – I should say I have contributed an essay).

So far so good, and the LDF organisers should be applauded for recognising and trying to plug this glaring gap in the festival. But on the LDF website you can search for events by discipline, and while the graphics category pulls up 34 results (some of which I’d argue are tenuous inclusions) furniture throws up no fewer than 120 separate matches.

Even accepting that furniture brands have the budgets and the commercial imperative to go big during an event like LDF, this is still quite some disparity. Clearly the festival must continue to encourage graphic practitioners to take part and foster the idea that this is an event which genuinely aims to engage with the entire design community.

But it would be great too if some of this city’s many brilliant design studios and agencies took the bull by the horns and ran exhibitions, talks or workshops to help us shout about quite how brilliant the graphic talent this city boasts really is. I accept that publishers like us have a part to play as well of course. So how about we all say now that LDF 2014 is going to be all about the graphics? We see you chairs. And we’re coming for you…

comments powered by Disqus
Ra

Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Opinion View Archive

  1. Opinion-list

    This week assistant editor Maisie Skidmore asks what it is about weekly podcast Serial that has got the whole world talking. As ever, we want to hear what you think! Add your two pennies in the comment thread below.

  2. List

    This week Rob Alderson examines Paper Magazine’s attempts to “break the internet” with their nude Kim Kardashian photoshoot. He asks if it’s actually a good cover, and what (if anything) it tells us about the magazine industry. As ever you can add your thoughts below…

  3. List

    Ahead of a panel discussion we’re hosting at London College of Communication next week we’re keen to explore whether the gap between design schools and the creative industries is a problem that needs addressing. You can add your thoughts using the discussion thread below…

  4. List

    In a special Opinion piece, Rob Alderson explains why the closure of London’s Kemistry Gallery is a cause for concern, but why its ambitious future plans need to be encouraged. You can add your thoughts using the discussion thread below…

  5. Lead

    This week online editor Emily Gosling looks at who can really claim authorship of artworks created using technology designed by someone else. Who can really take the credit for art that might not be possible without the tech know-how of others?

  6. List

    This week Rob Alderson reflects on an interesting blog by Chloe Markowicz which suggests that people are ashamed to call what they do advertising. As ever you can join the debate and add your comments using the discussion thread below.

  7. Main

    Wake up! Freshers’ Week is done – all that colourful IKEA kitchenware your mum got you is nowhere to be seen and you’ve gained 478 new friends on Facebook and an awkward conversation with your home friends about who you’re actually going to Glastonbury with next year. To be honest, being a fresher usually goes on for way longer than a week. After a month or so of partying and drinking Glenn’s Vodka and Robinson’s out of tupperware bowls you wake up with a whole load of briefs to tackle and studio space and equipment to fight over. This is the START of ART SCHOOL.

  8. List

    In recent months the question of so-called spec work has been raised with us over social media in light of various design competitions we have helped promote. Off the back of that we have spent a lot of time discussing this thorny issue with various people so as to formulate a consistent approach, although the nature of these things is that each is best analysed on a case by case basis.

  9. List

    This week Rob Alderson reflects on the launch of the new Design Museum website and the strange suggestion that the redesign should have been given to a British agency rather than Dutch studio Fabrique. As ever you can add your thoughts using the comment thread below…

  10. Opinion-list

    In the wake of the launch of Printed Pages Autumn 2014, Editor James Cartwright wonders and worries about the secret of designing a great magazine cover and asks for any handy hints you might have. Do him a favour and add your thoughts in the comments section below.

  11. Main

    In light of New York Fashion Week’s main event, a star-studded play put on by Opening Ceremony entitled 100% Lost Cotton, the It’s Nice That team began to ponder their own individual dream play, and what that would look like if they were given the chance to direct it. The results are pretty weird to be honest, but you can’t deny the appeal of each and every one in its own way.

  12. Main

    This week Editor Liv Siddall addresses the world’s distraught reaction to the announcement that MSN Messenger will terminate after 15 years in operation, and wonders if we should get so nostalgic and wet-eyed over technology.

  13. Main

    This week editorial assistant Amy Lewin ponders the cultural impact of the potential England/Scotland split. As ever, feel free to leave comments below.