The Future has Past

What is it about retro design that people gravitate toward? Craftsmanship and quality would apply to the pre-digital era.I certainly have an appreciation for the attention to detail in hand rendered work. You could see the human touch is those designs. In our current design project, many people are opting for retro designs from a whole range of eras.

What is up with the early digital era retro designs? That old Dire Straits music video for “Money for Nothing” looked awesome to  audiences in 1988 with its early 3D computer animation, one of the first examples of attempts to render human forms digitally. I think the video would look awesome to audiences today too, but in a different way. I’m not sure if irony quite describes it, or is it so bad its good? Case in point: minecraft. The design of this game makes it look like it came straight out of 1988 and people go crazy for it. I remember a time when a new game would come out and people would marvel at the graphics, amazed at how realistic it looked compared to its predecessor. So what happened? Is there some sort of realization that we will never get digital design to look as realistic as reality and therefore we should throw the baby out with the bathwater? Or is digital design getting so realistic its creepy? yahoo answers offers a range of answers: The simplicity of the graphics allows people with crappy computers to play without lagg time; the guy who made it didn’t have a graphics person and just did it himself, lack of funds, its a game about building so the inspiration comes from lego etc. 

Like any trend, minecraft has influenced other designs. The designers from “party for your right” an Australian consumer rights awareness website have won honourable mention for best design web design of 2013 using blocky digital animation similar to minecraft. Another honourable mention, also from Australia, “born in 82” an online designer’s portfolio looks like space invaders. It would seem that design has a  complicated lifecycle.



Reflecting on how we work and conduct ourselves is an important exercise for sure.  We all have areas that need improvements, or not so much improvements but a change in approach that might open up new ways of doing things producing interesting results. Setting goals for ourselves, or resolutions, is a personal challenge to see what we are capable of, or if they aren’t met, a self realizing experience.

I am not organized in the conventional sense of the word. When most people think of organization, we  imagine designated spaces for all things we own, designated times for all things we do, and depending on who we share our lives with, many of us are expected to maintain designated times and spaces for all aspects of someone else’s life as well. Having five nephews with complicated extracurricular lives leaves me in awe of my sister-in-law who manages to juggle everyone’s needs at the expense of her own to make sure her family has a life rich in experience.

Creative people are characteristically unconventionally organized, but are often accused of being disorganized. Organizing time is difficult because you never know when a great idea will strike you or when the conditions will be just right for brilliance. This is not just the case for artistically creative people.  I worked along side some of the world’s most brilliant theoretical physicists, and they too are usually unconventionally organized, their focus of attention strictly trained on how the universe (or other universes) are organized rather than their desk space.  For creative types, what is happening in your own mind is usually widely more interesting than snapping back to reality to make sure your stapler is in the right spot.

My organization is more like mental mapping. I know where everything is (mostly) without having a place where it belongs. When I need to retrieve something I visualize where it is, and under more difficult circumstances I visualize my movements throughout the day, week, month, whatever it takes until I find what it is I’m looking for. When describing where something is to someone else, it’s like a verbal treasure map. It can be frustrating for people, but I always feel a bit of vindicated self satisfaction when they get to the destination of required whatever.

I often get the urge to try organization the conventional way.  I rearrange things and dedicate homes for them.  It always leaves me feeling overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I have.  I have too many clothes, shoes, purses nick nacks and chotskies. Christmas always adds to the collection. There are days when I want to give away so many things to simply cut the clutter. I have in the past done a “stuff edit” with excellent results but there are some things I can’t pry my emotional attachment off of, I’m miles away from becoming a Bodhisattva

The attempts at being conventionally organized usually fall to pieces and I revert back to my mind mapping skills. It’s just how I roll. I’ll give it another go, however.Image