Evaporating Value of Design

Evaporating Value of Design

Above is a 5min version of the lecture given at the 2008 Webstock conference in Wellington, New Zealand.

I presented The evaporating author, devaluing of design and tracing a transactional aesthetic at the 2nd International Conference on Typography and Visual Communication in Thessaloniki, Greece 2004.


Have we reached a point where graphic design has little value to add beyond a surface aesthetic? Has the influence of graphic design diminished, as the primary influence over purchasing decisions moves from mainstream media to the Internet? Are we close to a point where your “job” evaporates into negotiated digital micro transactions and dualism’s bi-fabricate.

In recent years an aesthetic has rapidly developed online around Macromedia Flash and it’s vector based image rendering. Young designers seem only concerned with the surface while the “value” of value added design shifts into the audience’s hands. Through the empowerment of website ratings and reviews the audience now participates bilaterally in the transaction and the authorship of the retail experience becomes shared. There are now over one billion cellular phones participating in a digital network extending the Internet to every possible corner of culture. Microchips mediate our daily reception of news and information in more pervasive ways allowing consumers to construct and filter their own view of the world. In a filtered reality some consumers become more holistic in their views while others narrow and fragment.

An imaginative presentation that attempts to chart emerging trends in digital culture. Examining a future where the impact of new digital communication models may have reshaped our core ideas of work, value and trust.

The collision of various digital subcultures and contemporary design practices provides a platform for exploring these themes. For example:
  • MK12 and other technology based graphic stylists.
  • Design methodologist John Chris Jones, The Internet + Everyone.
  • Confluence & Geocaching community projects.
  • Website audience profiling and online social networks.
  • Virtual game environments and economies.
  • Cellular phones, Barcodes, RFID and GPS location tracking.
  • Peer 2 peer and open source methodologies.
Download the PDF of the presentation.