Each year Jacksonville’s creative community looks forward to AIGA Jacksonville’s I Love Design. This year’s event, sponsored by Print Resources, took place February 16 at the AT&T Building in downtown Jacksonville and was a huge success. We were fortunate to have Liz Danzico join us. In “What We Love(d)” she discussed the role nostalgia plays in our conceptual careers.
The evening started with a meet-and-greet-style happy hour. The delicious spread of Mediterranean-inspired food was graciously sponsored by Character Counts (special thanks to Florence Haridan and Tina Veitch). We also enjoyed incredible cupcakes and sweets provided by Sweet & Flour (special thanks to Marisa Ratliff).
Before Liz began, we were treated to a preview of Acquired Taste, a short film concepted by Membership Co-Director Stephanie Soden. The teaser showed a sampling of the conversation between local creative community legends Jefferson Rall, Jan Korb, Mark Barnhart, Mary Fisher, David Wingard and Carl Smith. Thanks to everyone who made it happen, especially the seasoned veterans who took time out of their busy schedules to participate. View “Acquired Taste” in its entirety on our Vimeo channel.
Next, Liz introduced us to a complex theme that many of us may not have previously considered. As ambassadors of our personal history, we will always find a place for the past to be contextualized in our present. As technology develops, it reinforces the nostalgia that we seem to crave and brings about a romance of positive past memories. Whether it is “rejiggering” old concepts with new tools, reinventing old models or bringing about new forms by the canonization of existing ones, our past observations seem to reemerge in our current creative manifestations.
Liz explained how past themes are present in our daily lives. One example was how the Occupy movement can be viewed as a resurgence of the fervor of youth in the late 1960s. This time their voices are amplified through the uses of new technologies the Internet has provided. The same can be said for the emergence of retail stores such as Pottery Barn, IKEA and Starbucks that present us with a perception of culturally authentic items and products even though they may not be. Liz also made reference to how this is followed by a culture of media that has exploited the opportunity to teach us how to use this “commercialized authenticity.” This becomes apparent in entertainment programming such as “Top Chef,” “Project Runway” and the once popular “Trading Spaces.” In turn, we eventually become “authenticity stylists” in our own right.
So what is the future of the past? Liz referenced author Clay Shirky saying, “In the same way that the web at one point made everyone an accidental publisher, the web plus 15 years has made everyone an accidental archivist.” So where do we go from here? We can speculate that we will continue to see an influx of technological development for archival tools, the prevalence of a curator role and the dissolution of the traditional historian.
As creatives, we will likely face these themes more than the average person. So how can it be applied to our lives and careers? Design comes from a moment (or combination of moments) of inspiration. The ways we observe our world and, more importantly, interpret it to our audience, are of great importance in how our message is effectively communicated. We can consider the direction we would like to present and use this information to become a different type of design observer by evaluating what we love about the past and present. Ultimately, we are able to allow ourselves to take more risks.
Thanks again to everyone who came out to I Love Design 2012. We hope to see you next year.
~ Patrick, Vice President
(Photos by Tiffany Manning)