During this course I began to develop an awareness of subtle colors in my environment. For example, the million different whites that are available or the various different yellows developed from the reflection of sunlight. In my future work as a designer, I would like to explore the concept of beauty in the mundane, everyday observations that are so easy to take for granted. I’ve discovered that there can be beauty in the most banal of things and I would like to explore my everyday environment more deeply to discover the details, colors and experience that I would normally just pass by.
There are a few ideas that this concept reminds me of. First, Tara Donovan is an incredible artist that uses everyday items in her artwork to create ethereal spaces and environments. She transforms drinking straws, styrofoam cups, scotch tape and fishing wire into billowing, organic shapes and experiences.
Second, this concept is loosely connected to a localization movement encouraged by many people including John Thackara (and reinforced by the most recent Good Magazine neighborhoods issue). He emphasizes the importance of place, and where things come from as an integral part of what they are and how we connect with them. (the slow city movement is an interesting side note on this topic. To become a slow city there are certain restrictions so that nothing is outsourced and resources need to come from within the boundaries of the city as much as possible. A real grass-roots anti-globalization effort.)
Lastly, and most relevant to a graphic designer, Thackara encourages people to be with “real people, in real places, who are changing their lived material reality” – this is more beneficial to society than just emitting messages. This is a crucial point for designers, since we may be the biggest message-senders of all.
This also reminds me of a bumper-sticker that I may still have (from my Colorado days)! It is a Margaret Mead quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”