Digital materiality: Digital fabrication and hybridity in graphic design

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Journal Article
Design Principles and Practices, 2011, 5 (3), pp. 527 - 533
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Design disciplines are often conceptualised in terms of their material output. For visual communicators this is seen as a concern with two-dimensional print and screen. However new directions in practice, motivated in part by new production technologies, are challenging this assumption. Traditional boundaries between the graphic, industrial and architectural are dissolving. Digital fabrication techniques (laser-cutting, rapid-prototyping, physical computing etc) are increasingly available to the small-scale designer. Practitioners are utilising these new tools - as well as the conceptual reappraisal they encourage - to explore the material and sculptural boundaries of their disciplines. Graphic Material, held in in 2010 as part of Sydney Design 10, examined this development. The exhibition showcased hybrid practices through new and innovative works by an international selection of designers. Robotic drawing machines, spot-welded posters and visuals that grow over time describe just some of the works by participants that included Graphic Thought Facility, Collider, 3Deep Design, David Pidgeon, Toko, Mark Gowing, Multistorey, Oscar Diaz Studio and Bert Simons. This presentation will present an overview of the exhibition, teasing out its thematic concerns. These include: whether design can be characterised by a set of discipline specific cognitive frameworks and methodologies; the often unacknowledged effects of new technological toolsets on creative thinking and production; and the hybridisation of design practices. © Common Ground, Aaron Seymour, All Rights Reserved.
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