How is technology changing the way in which we design and consume?

How is technology changing the way in which we design and consume?

This report hopes to uncover is technology really changing the way in which we design and consume and if so how and what are the effects? Looking at the changes, which are taking place and the impact that they are having on the way in which we design and consume. For the past few weeks, I have been looking at the influence technology has had in our society and the way people behave and how this has effecting implications in design, whether this is positive or negative. Investigating the way in which we design and our approach to design with the technological advances. In order to understand the impact of technology in design I will look back in history to identify the link between design and technology and how the integration of the two has led to a new era of design, which are exquisite and refined; also much more detailed than ever before due to technological enhancements, which have allowed for flaws to be removed early on in design.

Looking back at history both design and technology have nearly always co-existed side by side, helping to push one another further and further in development and enhancement of their respected fields. The use of interaction design, a discipline that focuses on improving the human experience with digital products, is ‘about shaping digital things for people’s use”, alternately defined as “the practice of designing interactive digital products’.

Technology is what portrays the advancements of having the ability to create and gain knowledge. Throughout the year’s technology has progressed and evolved to a more advanced power that is available to us. I don’t think that technology is a trend to cause harm but a survival tool. ‘But technology brought radical change in the early 1900s as well. Key debates of the past are re-emerging as crucial debates of the present. Authorship, universality, social responsibility –within these issues the future of graphic design’ Lupton these advancements have changed the way in which we design, losing our traditional ways of designing and the traditional mediums.

As technology is becoming more advanced we are becoming even more dependent on the devices that are within reach of our pockets. What we are missing even more due to these advances is solidarity as it has become harder to reach out or have any sort of empathy in such a globalized multicultural society. These devices have become so psychologically powerful that not only do they have an effect on what we do, but change who we are. Constantly we want new information, which is shaping our lifestyles. It has now become a norm to have your phone attached to you at all times, and there is even recognition of a new sense that tricks you into thinking you’ve just received a text message when really it’s just your imagination. I can’t imagine what we would do if our technologies were taken away from us. Do we need to use the three ‘well sources’: hierarchy, solidarity and individualism, which Matthew Taylor mentioned in order to fill the gap not fulfilled by our needs?

As hierarchy has failed us due the loss of authority; technology was something that gave people a sense of power in the past, now mobile technology has become accessible to everyone making it much easier to keep up-to-date on information as people are constantly blogging about general issues, creative ideas etc.

As ­­­ News apps became available, but some may say that this may be a misguiding way of keeping people from interacting with one another. “We expect more from technology and less from one another and seem increasingly drawn to technologies that provide the illusion of companionship without the demands of relationship.” Sherry Turkle there is not long the need for interactions with people such as asking strangers for directions. As technology is becoming more advanced at such an incredible speed there’s a desperate need to stay up-to-date with technology. I question why this is the case? Could it be that it is making us happy? I dread to think that we need these upgrades to fit in social groups, ‘classes’, “There is a growing gap between what we want and what we are going to do to make it happen” Matthew Taylor. Solidarity is weaker and diversity has changed which is harder to feel solidarity with people who are different to you. Individualism has grown to fill the gap that is left from the decline of hierarchy and the decline of solidarity. Individualism has too become narrow and materialistic motion of individualism. Challenging the narrow idea of what it is to be successful.

When all these powers are united they are all about collaboration, something that is very important to the design world. “Design is a social activity. Rarely working alone or in private, designers respond to clients, audiences, publishers, institutions, and collaborations” Lupton. Designing something is about whom we are designing for, understanding the people around us. Working in a team of designers with a shared mind is a more powerful tool than working on your own. This process is something that I as a graphic designer think is a successful way of a working process. It is about creating a community where you can construct and share ideas that allow you to discover the next revolution. Designing for more successful innovations and solutions.

There have been disruptive technologies that have upset existing markets and networks replacing the classics with new and reformed technologies for examples the pay phone became the mobile phone, paper maps became GPS, Books became E-books, readers. CD became USBs, and then USBs became Cloud computers and so on. consumer electronics was a physical thing such as the radio, television, stereo, etc. Now that technology is becoming more advanced the software is becoming very important in terms of experience. Now it’s about both software and hardware. With the development of software like the cloud, we are adjusting to it well because it is giving us control, we are able to access media that is stored on our mobile devices anywhere. Now people may be aware of this happening but are turning a blind eye to the loss of physicality and how wireless gadgets are becoming essential in our everyday life. “Most of these innovations are taken for granted today’ Moggridge.

Technological developments in publishing are making us purchase data (e.g. MP3s and e-books) not physical objects (books and birthday cards) and we as designers are producing digital, not physical work. In August 2012, The Guardian reported that Kindle e-books are now outstripping its sales of printed books. We as consumers are happy to lose the physicality of the book but keep the story. ‘In many ways, we have, for better or worse already moved beyond the book’ P. Landor. The experience of reading an eBook on electronics like Kindle, iPad is much different to reading a physical book. There are advantages: to e-books, keeping books up-to-date for educational purposes what you learn in one year is information that may no longer be relevant in the next year. Allowing Editors to edit at a much faster rate. There is an interesting talk from the RSA ‘Changing education Paradigms’ by Sir Ken Robinson who talked about the processing of time and the effects it is having on education. Fact-based learning is a system that is set for a different time era. The younger generation is being tested in education, where they are fed with information but at a slow speed, which students can’t concentrate on and their only distraction is technology, which is set at a different speed, offering new ways of learning and exploring. ’A computer screen can be an inexhaustible source of endless information. A computer screen is a gate-way, forever replenishing itself by either scrolling or replacing old information with new’ Jeff Gomez so eBooks have the advantage of easily updating information. It is now much easier to access information needed for a project than ever before; with things like e-libraries we are able to find information from books, articles, trade publication articles. What will this mean for universities?

In July, Clinton Cards, a birthday card and gift store collapsed, as it was unable to compete with online sales from Funky Pigeon and Although Clintons attempted to move its card service online, they did so too late and were unable to save their company. This is another example of how we as consumers are happy purchasing and receiving digital as opposed to physical goods. This is also the reason why HMV is struggling in the economy we can just download an album; many of us feel we don’t need the CD. When eBooks first came out people made the prediction that eBooks would change the way in which we read and view books and completely replace them. Although this has not fully happened yet, there is clearly a lot of interest in digital sales. It is evident that us designers create through a series of software’s that has a different translating in the aesthetics.

Science and technology are taking matters into their hands, essentially brainwashing us with the speed of innovation. Whether we like it or not technology is apart of our lives in some way. Technology is fundamentally changing our culture and society. Designers have to learn to use a wide range of technologies and techniques, ensuring they have prepared themselves for constant change in technology.

Graphic design is about visual communication, solving problems using our intellectual properties to provide services, designing and producing which is in responses to the way people interact. I think that technology has made it a much easier to distribute things our self ‘the DIY Movement’ this was an encouragement for people to produce things themselves instead of depending on mass production and the corporations that made them. New technologies have emboldened designers the techniques, which allowed us to produces, rather than consume.

In conclusion, it’s evident that technology has changed the way in which we design and consume because we have changed the way in which we view and consume technology, which has meant that our perception of what a design is has changed. It is evident that the traditional idea of design has changed and evolved with the evolution of technology and the way we design and produce our ideas in practice.

Technology has given us the paradigm, which promotes sharing ideas. There’s a physical change in products, and design has been attached to it, creating technology is no longer about just producing fast and reliable software but also making it feel and look good, which will enhance the technologies potential of being consumed. In many cases the I have noted one of the most important effects that technology is having is the lack of physicality that I think is a shame because as a Graphic designer I think is important to visually represent something and physicality plays an important role. For example, reading books goes back centuries and is one of the few things, which has remained a constant timeless classic in our society. The idea was to change the way in which people do something; they’ve been doing for centuries like reading books.

‘Nothing sums up technology quite like the old saying: “out with the old, in with the new.” moving at such a speed and still the backbones to our fundamental world.



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Home Town Glory – Drenica
The mountains of Albania
Shengjin Beach




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Pattern Talks

A series of informal talks in the gallery where artists, designers and scientists share their pattern passions.

Monday 3rd Nov 

1.00pm   Amanda Windle

DigiLab LCC,  Data Patterns

Catherine Dixon

Typographer, CSM Typographic ornament

Tuesday 4th Nov 1.00pm

Graeme Gibbons

LambdaPhoto, Electron Microscopes

Wednesday 5th Nov 1.00pm  

Philip Ball

Science writer, Genetic Patterning

Thursday 6th Nov 1.00pm

Charlotte Hodes

Artist, LCF, Cultural Patterning

Rob Kesseler

UAL, Micro Patterns

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Micro Pattern Lab

The Lethaby Gallery becomes a working laboratory where you will be able to explore a world too small to be seen with the naked eye. Working from a collection of microscope kits supplied by the Royal Microscopical Society and their collection of slides, you can explore the materials we use every day in our work and the world around us to reveal complex textures and patterns.



From Tuesday 4th November for three days there is also a unique opportunity to use a state of the art Phenom scanning electron microscope on loan from Lambda Photometrics with the capacity of magnifications of up to x 10,000. Nottingham University have also given access to a selection of their online interactive anatomical slides. A small Dino Lite plug in microscope will be available to track, photograph and take movies of anything from your skin to fabrics and plant material. The images that all these microscopes reveal,

provide an opportunity to create a new landscape of pattern through graphic and digital media. Drawing with one eye looking down the lens and one on the paper, new topographies of pattern can emerge. Shifting from the graphic to the digital and from the micro to macro an HP large format printer will offer the possibility of expanding the scale even further.

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