Exploring a raw way of thinking | Image from the 2016 Bezalel's Academy of Art and Design graduation exhibition
Design grad, teacher, designer and former Wixer, Aviram Ben Shushan, shares his thoughts on how the world influences design - but more importantly, how design influences the world.
For the Israeli design community, it’s the time of year again that’s unlike any other holiday or national celebration in our calendar. A time when the contrast between the blazing August sun and the pale-skinned faces of fresh design graduates is at its peak. They’ve spent months working on their final projects, and are now approaching the grand finale - the exhibitions of each local design academy.
Although the year is 2017, it seems the world is going backwards - and has gone mad. Technology and modern progress seem to be threatening our sanity. This is the ground on which this year’s design students, the last of Gen Y, are making their way through - trying to create their own visual language and narrative through the chaos.
It’s enough to open a newspaper, read the news or just browse the internet to realize the vast opportunities for creativity in today’s modern world. It’s enough to raise your head while taking the train in any city to understand that our society has transformed, and there’s no going back. Everything goes, and there isn’t one simple truth.
Designers Rule the World
It’s been three years since I graduated from design school, and I still firmly believe that design and visual communication can change the world. Our reality, which is live streamed on our multiple screens, functions as the main discourse arena for society - and every pixel, every megabyte are a battleground. If knowledge is power, then “visual” knowledge carries a great competitive advantage. As designers, we hold this power - choosing a typeface, selecting a color palette, treating an image, creating the right composition - these are all our tools we use to control what the world sees, and how. We shape the reason why people stop and stare at huge ad campaigns, how they choose what we eat, what they wear, how to think, what to read and which episode to watch tonight.
Let’s be honest - Israel is not a design nation. It’s not a European capital that carries a heritage and responsibility for culture. We weren't born into Helvetica and we still go to work with flip flops. I believe we should look at this not as something to be ashamed of, but rather something that allows us to investigate, make mistakes and generally work with a state of mind of an eternal student. Feeling that every client and every job - from the smallest to the biggest - can create a buzz and change our little world.
It’s easier to make a difference when the final result is still unclear; it’s easier to make an effect while you’re still in the process, rather than at its end.
Go and Explore
So to the readers, this is my recommendation - go and visit the utopia of a primeval creation. Wander around the halls of design schools, explore the different departments, read ideas about design and consume a more raw way of thinking. Because good visual communication doesn’t need to be mediated. Allow yourself to be inspired, to be critical, to dive into countless ideas. Try and get inside the head of those behind the scenes.
And to the graduates, my wish for you is the ability to keep an eternal student mind. The journey you are about to embark on, the one I’m just beginning, is much more diverse and full of opportunities than you can imagine. It takes a lot of experience and maturity to understand that the way to a large success is filled with little ones on the way, and that work is not the only path to self-fulfillment. Enjoy that path.