Blog Post 11: Networking Event

On Thursday, October 26 I went to Chandelier Creative’s event Designing The Ephemeral. It featured speaker Jill Singer, talking about her experiences running her online magazine, Sight Unseen. Sight Unseen is a design/visual arts magazine that was founded Singer and her partner Monica Khemsurov in 2009. During the talk Singer spoke about the work her company does with interior design.

Design is an umbrella term that covers a great many fields, but be being a Graphic Designer I only think about those aspects of design. I have never given a thought to how the other mediums of design operate, which is why I wanted to attend this particular event; to get a little of  their experiences. And I have to say, I am happy I did. It was a most interesting look into the alien world of a fellow designer.

The event was about the ephemeral—things that don’t last very long. And even though Singer was speaking about interior design, it applies just as much to me the Graphic Designer. Graphic Design, like many other forms of design, is a commercial art. As commercial artist we have to create art that sells, and that means that we have move with trends in design. But trends come and go very quickly, so how does one keep up with these trends, and constantly re-invent themselves to stay relevant? Furthermore, how do you cope with the fact all the beautiful work you create will have to be tossed aside when the trends change?

The answer, as explained by Singer, is to not get consumed by the trend. When asked what she does when there’s a trend she doesn’t like, Singer responded that she ignores it. You don’t have to participate just something is trendy, and when you do participate it is up to incorporate trends in a way that makes them both personal and timeless. That is the fine line you walk as a designer. If you’re just doing what everyone else is doing, why would anyone hire you? However, if you’re completely out of touch with the trends your work will not look current and you still won’t get hired. You have to be accommodating to what the public expects of you and also stay true to yourself. Singer demonstrates this in her work by the extra care she takes to not make her designs look too stylized. Her spaces need to look like somewhere you would want to inhabit, and no wants to live in a magazine spread.

After the talk I went to mingle with the crowd, where I met Karen Richter, the creative director of White Arrow Interiors. We spoke about her work as an interior designer and how awesome my networking assignment was. I also talked with Jacinta Chen, who is an Account Director at MirrorBall, an Experience Design agency. And I had a short conversation with the speaker, where we spoke about her presentation and her work.

I learned a lot form this event, things that I probably wouldn’t have known If I had not attended. I am truly glad I stepped out of my comfort zone, and went to an event that had nothing to do with Graphic Design. Like the woman at Dropbox said, it is important to be inspired by things that are outside if your job. The ephemeral has inspired me to be adventurous.