At Design Indaba Conference 2013 product designer Oscar Diaz spoke about form following meaning, and discussed the role of the designer as that of form-giver.
For Diaz product design has always mainly been about content and about making an object meaningful for people. He believes that design happens at the intersection where culture and commerce meet, and it is here that the meaning-making happens.
Diaz showed examples of his work, like the Ink Calendar, a project that allows for the visual expression of time. The Ink Calendar mimics what happens in life, as time is made to “disappear” as the ink used in the project disperses.
Materiality in its different forms and guises is an important consideration for Diaz in his work. In his talk he also looks to the design of different packaging, speaking specifically to solutions that use less materials but result in better value. Diaz also shared his Found project, that re-examined the making of cutlery and found a way to work around the need for a mould – by making cutlery from plastic bottles!
The job of the designer, Diaz believes, is to re-look the things you’ve seen too many times. This is difficult to do, he acknowledges, but can have many positive spin-offs.
Diaz explains his own creative process as “going to the gym, but for your head”. It’s about reading behaviours and looking at things differently.