Design + banter is a small event for designers in London. Run not-for-profit once a month by a couple of dedicated guys, the format consists of three speakers with a Q&A session after each, with each talk lasting between 15 and 30 minutes. I’ve written about it before and it’s been great to see it grow.
Thoughts on this and that
3 weeks ago, while cycling to work, I was hit by a car. It was the ﬁrst day back after New Year, my very ﬁrst morning back in London having spent christmas with my girlfriend and family. The weather was grey and damp, with the sort of gusty wind that makes the rain come at you from every angle. Crossing a trafﬁc light junction, a car coming the other way turned right across me and my bike hit them more or less head on.
As words go serendipity is pretty awesome. Not only is it wonderful to say out loud, se-ren-dip-pid-dee, but it has a lovely definition; “The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way”. In terms of fancy sounding words that command major respect on the Scrabble board, it’s right up there with effervescent.
One of the best things about London is the amount of stuff that happens. On any given day there’s (probably) something arty or filmy or funny-e happening somewhere and, as far as design is concerned, a lot of it is concentrated round the running in-joke that is Shoreditch. This week, as the sun is finally making an appearance for the long promised British summer, I’ve been lucky enough to attend to three really interesting industry events.
Last night me and my good friend Tom Hurley went along to the inaugural event of the brand new Design & Banter meet-up, organised by Gearóid O’Rourke and Sam Willis. It followed the ever triumphant free-to-attend-with-beer-and-short-talks kind of format, with the added bonus that it was held at Bloomsbury Lanes, so bowling and table tennis were also on the cards. I’ve been to a few other conferences and one-night events, but I think this was the first designer specific one, and the informal, ‘let’s meet up and hang out’ ethos really appealed to me.
I cycle to work most days. For me it’s by far the quickest, cheapest and most fun way to get around the busy streets of London (this in spite of a recent report that cyclists take in more pollution than other commuters). Now routine being the enemy of progress (and boring to boot), I’ve recently I’ve been experimenting with the route I take, spending time pouring over Google maps, searching for ways to refine my ride.
A century ago the Bauhaus was championing the Swiss methodology of Form Follows Function, the idea that the a design or object should be shaped not by the whim of the designer but by the need or purpose it’s been created to serve. Fast-forward to today and the web design community is wrestling with the possibilities and constraints of the hundreds of new devices their work needs to cater leading to the increasing prevalence of a philosophy-cross-working-practice that’s being called Responsive Web Design.
Sometimes it feels like the whole world is a grim and gloomy old place. Escalating conflict in Africa, the poor getting poorer while the rich get richer, people just being mean to each other all the time. And there’s nothing decent on the tele.