General Session
Friday, September 24, 2021
12:00 PM - 3:00 PM (EDT)

Hosted by Roman Mars, our general sessions feature a diverse lineup of designers, artists, entrepreneurs and more.

Today's speakers:
Prem Krishnamurthy
Ramon Tejada
Anja Lutz
Lucienne Roberts
Debbie Millman

On Design’s Transformations
Prem Krishnamurthy
Amidst the radical transformations and interlocking crises of today, how is design itself changing? What new roles can designers embrace in order to facilitate more sustainable ways of being in the world? Which frameworks, methods, and tools might support them in their paths? Speaking from over two decades of experience as a designer, curator, writer, and teacher, Prem Krishnamurthy presents the newest iteration of a set of ever-changing concepts with relevance for both professional work and everyday life. Synthesizing ideas from across community organizing, speculative fiction, cognitive science, typography, anthropology, group therapy, movement, and more, this wide-ranging talk suggests alternative modes of knowledge and practice. The articulation of three aesthetic strategies—generosity, juxtaposition, and bumpiness—structures the talk’s insights. In their intersection, these strategies offer new approaches to guide emergent creative and collaborative work within ever more uncertain futures.

Portals: Collaborations in Graphic Design and Education for Reimagined Worlds
Ramon Tejada
"In the world we want, everybody fits. The world we want is a world in which many worlds fit.” —Ejército Zapatista de liberación Nacional, “Fourth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle”
Puncturing old myths of the siloed and solitary designer or design educator, we’ve had the kismet to weave our varied experiences as graphic designers, educators, and question askers together across schools, institutions, and platforms. From knowing when “It’s Time to Throw the Bauhaus Under the Bus,” teaching in the time of Covid-19 and George Floyd’s murder and using emergent methods, to tracing lineages of design histories across Borderlands in the African and Latinx Diasporas—we look at the pluralistic work that emerges from diverse cosmologies born of individual and collective conversation and experience. We are particularly interested in challenging the colonial lineages of 20th-century formal aesthetics to make collaborative processes, arrive at more open structures, and ultimately redefine design as a more inclusive endeavor.

A—Z – A Space for Experimental Graphic Design
Anja Lutz
Anja Lutz, art book designer and initiator of A—Z, a space for experimental graphic design, will talk about the process of running a space fully dedicated to expanding the territory of graphic design, that opened 2019 in Berlin. A—Z has the mission of developing, showcasing and promoting ideas and projects in which graphic design goes beyond its boundaries and explores its more unconventional and experimental facets. Anja will present the initiative by sharing her perspectives on creating, curating and collaborating with a multitude of graphic designers. Participants will acquire insights, from an actual transdisciplinary environment where graphic design dialogues with other areas, such as contemporary art, cultural research and social engagement. They will also gather a comprehension in new forms of collaboration, as well as unconventional ideas on showcasing graphic design.

Is it Still Okay to Be a Graphic Designer?
Lucienne Roberts
Influenced as much by feminism as Swiss typography, Lucienne will share her graphic design journey from utopian zeal to dystopian dilemma. She has always considered graphic design to be a political act. In the early days this message was greeted with incredulity but when her book Good: An Introduction to Ethics in Graphic Design hit the streets the subject was inching onto the agenda. Since then, she and colleagues have curated / designed exhibitions about graphic design in health and politics (Can Graphic Design Save Your Life? and Hope to Nope: Graphic Design and Politics 2008–18), worked on multiple NGO campaigns; helped spread the word about climate change; and most recently developed the installation Perhaps it’s not you, it’s me. in which Lucienne contemplates ‘leaving’ her long-standing partner Graphic Design. Here she explains why divorce was an option, argues for the value of graphic design and ponders on what we all need to do next.

This session will be recorded and available exclusively to attendees post-event.