Tag Archives: Los Angeles

California: Designing Freedom | The Design Museum

If you haven’t been to the new building for the Design Museum which recently relocated to Kensington, you are missing out. The architecture and gift shop alone are worth a visit!
The exhibition “California” caught my eye based on the parts that explore ‘freedom’. The exhibition explores more than just the expression of human rights freedom:

California: Designing Freedom explores how the ideals of the 1960s counterculture morphed into the tech culture of Silicon Valley, and how ‘Designed in California’ became a global phenomenon.

The central premise is that California has pioneered tools of personal liberation, from LSD to surfboards and iPhones. This ambitious survey brings together political posters and portable devices, but also looks beyond hardware to explore how user interface designers in the San Francisco Bay Area are shaping some of our most common daily experiences. By turns empowering, addictive and troubling, Californian products have affected our lives to such an extent that in some ways we are all now Californians.

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Aside from the array of Apple inventions and iconic technological advances that California has blessed the world with, the most interesting part of the exhibition for me was “Say What You Want”. Described as “tools of self expression and rebellion”, this part of the exhibition showcased artefacts that were created to highlight racism, sexism and homophobia:

P.S. sorry for the awful photo quality! Taken on my phone.

It was incredible being able to be so close to relics that were created to protest against the biggest human rights movements in the world. They even displayed newspaper articles from the past, and contemporary pieces created against Trump’s America.
I cannot recommend this show enough. It has to be one of my (if not THE) all time favourite exhibitions.

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Domestic Violence Has No Place Here

For National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, independent ad agency Quigley-Simpson were commissioned by Los Angeles Police Department and mayor Eric Garcetti’s office to create a series of outdoor ads (in English and Spanish). They feature on benches, bus shelters and billboards around Los Angeles.

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This campaign is a far cry from the usual technique of creating a campaign using graphic imagery of the consequences of domestic attacks. However, this certainly doesn’t make the message any less powerful or thought-provoking! If anything, I prefer this direction because it almost catches you off guard, and makes you think more than a sensationalised image of a bloody face would. I think you read into it more and pay more attention, because the message is not immediately obvious – whereas a lot of people would turn away from an image of a beaten face.

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Props to the agency for using men and women – PSAs often only target domestic abuse towards women, whilst the majority of men suffer in silence with little support.

Now, time to be critical… As I’ve mentioned countless times, campaigns for social change make me so proud to be part of this industry, and I love this campaign’s concept. But what the hell is the art direction? It is so poor, it totally takes it away from the fabulous idea. There is a serious disconnect between copy quality and design quality here…

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