We’re all finally back at our desks after 4.5 days in Boston attending the HOW Conference. Boston was amazing and revitalizing and surprisingly chilly (by which I mean it was still warmer than Upstate New York).
The sessions themselves were something of a mixed bag, but overall the GrafiQa contingent came away pretty darned inspired and more than a little recharged. One of the most inspiring sessions was a presentation by Joe Duffy titled “A Designed Life.” One of the many insightful points he made was about the impact of design on the quality of life.
In Japan, he noted, design is an integral part of even the most ordinary daily activities.
The presentation of food, architecture, the landscape.
Duffy’s assertion is that, because impeccable design is so culturally ingrained, Japanese people live with a more sophisticated grasp of good design principles.
Another speaker, Bill Strickland, shard a similar philosophy in his closing presentation. Strickland, who is the author of the book “Make the Impossible Possible,” created an amazing arts and technology center for inner-city kids and adults. The centers are beautiful – inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture and filled with beautiful works of art and fresh flowers.
To quote his speech: “People are a product of their environment and expectations. When you build a beautiful place, you get beautiful people. When you build prisons, you get prisoners.”
You can see his entire speech at his website (and I highly recommend it).
These two speakers, who essentially book-ended the conference drove home a simple, but resounding truth: Good design should not be reserved only for a special class of activity or an exclusive class of people. Design surrounds us, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the gum wrapper in your trash bin to the trash bin itself.
Good design is important enough, influential enough and life-changing enough that we should all learn from it, embrace it and demand it.