The Cr*ft

Magazine Cover

This issue of Design Indaba magazine, The Cr*ft, was made entirely on com-puters. Contributors were contacted via email, interviews conducted on Skype, photos taken with mega-pixels, words sculpted on Microsoft Office and layout on InDesign. Today’s world is virtual and runs on real time. So where do the slow-making, culturally sensitive, hand-touched qualities of craft fit into today’s market?

We asked our experts: Design Indaba speakers, exhibitors and media partners. An aggregate of the responses seems to indicate that craft has achieved a new status, appealing to the 21st century economics of scarcity, product innovation, long-tail markets  and contextual value (interestingly all models that come up in ebusiness).
Craft is not an ethnic oddity, sentimental lesser to art and design, nor the naïve worship of the once-off and handmade. Craft is excellence, conviction, empowerment and raw innovation. It is an economic production model for a world challenged by recession, climate change and cultural minorities. That said, there is still good and bad craft.

These are exciting times with lots of room to do good and remake the world – to paraphrase Bruce Mau. Marcel Wanders, too, says that the possibilities are only limited by our imagination. The Am I Collective and Disko graphic design and animation studios put it into action with their global network of virtual clients. And Marian Bantjes proves it – ever made a typographical design using sugar? But design is not the only creative industry responding to these changes – there is a parallel in the new folk scene. Kudos to Li Edelkoort who predicted all this in 2003 and John Bauer who found happiness.

Design Indaba welcomes this sea change – we have been out on a limb about the economic power of design since 1995. Celebrating our 12th conference this year, from 25 to 27 February, we are looking forward to welcoming more than 30 international creative leaders to inspire the local industry with technology, humanism, ingenuity and power. In turn, the Design Indaba Expo and SOUTH exhibition from 27 February to 1 March are due to set the world alight with South African products (just have a glance at the spectacular Know more today tomorrow photo shoot).
Welcome to Design Indaba 2009! – Nadine Botha