Design Indaba Dialogues

"Dialogues" is an ebook collection of fly-on-the-wall dialogues and Q&A's with leading designers. Read the foreword below.

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One remarkable, lesser-known outcome of the annual Design Indaba Festival is the interpersonal relationships that burgeon during this time.

Having great minds in close proximity lends itself to conversations, the tenure and scope of which often proffer the best learnings of the event for those lucky enough to be privy to these electric exchanges.

The purpose of this ebook is to share these fly-on-the-wall insights with a wider audience. We’ve paired some of the world’s leading creative minds and left the conversation to its own devices. 

Here we present these unfiltered exchanges, whether they took place over Skype or face-to-face. 

As a whole, the conversations are a litmus test of the state of design. Recurring themes such as the effect of digitisation and sustainability on design are a sign of contemporary times.

In conversation with personal friends, respected colleagues or fellow creatives, these design luminaries drop their guard to speak frankly and passionately about everything from the weather, travel and family to industrialisation and business.

Questions of working methods, studio size and the ideal client emphasise the often unspoken-about, unglamorous side of design. The ongoing issue of the difference between design and art reveals that existential questioning follows designers right to the heights of their careers. Questions about what the future holds resonate amongst their concerns. Insecurities, unrealised dreams and personal frustrations – accented with candid humour and shared memories – remind us that our design heroes are human and very real!

In this collection we have gathered a selection of conversations, traditional interviews and Q&A’s between designers, originally commissioned for Design Indaba magazine (2001–2011) or its younger online counterpart, Expect raw and honest opinions from deities of communication design such as the late Massimo Vignelli, Milton Glaser, Stefan Sagmeister, Peter Saville, Paula Scher and Michael Bierut. Learn about the changing nature of product design from bigwigs like Yves Béhar, Karim Rashid and Hella Jongerius. Uncover the esoteric in explorations on eating design, and the everyday in discussions on workplace design. The series “Inside Out”, which speaks to South African designers living abroad, comes from Where It’s At, a 2012 publication by Design Indaba, guest edited and designed by South African designer and artist Richard Hart, who now also lives and works in New York.

Each of the 22 dialogues in this ebook is brought to life by the spark of brilliance that underlies the genius behind the designer’s unique approach to his or her work. While not all specifically about these designers’ creative produce, every story is accompanied by a selection of work that captures the essence of the creative force behind it. Together their words and images tell an extraordinary tale that captures a unique slice of the last decade of design.

We hope you enjoy the experience of “listening” in on these Design Dialogues.

The Design Indaba editorial team

November 2014


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