by Adrienne So
A video web project started by vice president and creative director of design firm Little&Company Joe Cecere, Thirty Conversations on Design taps movers and shakers in design for their thoughts. Little&Company's clients include Target Corporation and Warner Brothers, so when Cecere sought out leading professionals in his field, he knew where to look.
Cecere asked thirty of the world's top creative professionals two simple questions: What single example of design inspires you the most? And what problem should design solve next?
The surprising and illuminating answers make for a bite-size educational experience with appeal to both designers and laypeople. Ellen Lupton, curator of contemporary design of the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum in New York, cites the book as a pinnacle of design, symbolizing mutation, mobility and free flow of information. Greg Hoffman, global brand creative director of Nike, suggests that design could be an effective way to combat childhood obesity by attracting attention away from more sedentary lifestyle choices.
While the majority of the interviewees live in New York, Cecere seeks out design professionals from all over the world. Erik Spiekermann, a designer at edenspiekermann and professor at the University of the Arts Bremen, marvels at the invention of the alphabet and how the printing press made the mind-bending leap from handwriting to printed letters that bore little resemblance to their predecessors. Miguel Vasquez, of MASA in Mexico, reveals his awe at how Facebook attracts people from all over the world, changing how people communicate and do business.
Altogether, the conversations remove design from its pedestal and consider its effects in the real world. Simple, beautiful, functional design can do more than make objects attractiveâ it can change how people think and speak, and improve lives.