Design Indaba 2011 Conference: Day 1 (Live Blog)
A Cultural Experience In Cape Town, South Africa

South Africa By: Mandy J Watson on 23 February 2011
Category: Culture > Features Comments View Comments


The Design Indaba 2011 conference starts today in Cape Town, South Africa. This is a live blog transcript of the day's events.

Today I'm going to give live blogging a shot by covering day one of the Design Indaba 2011 Conference from the simulcast room in Cape Town. I'm going to work off my netbook using the Cell C Speed Stick and will update this page every few minutes, so bookmark it and/or refresh it throughout the day to see the latest coverage.

If the Internet has connection problems (which has been happening a lot lately) or the netbook battery dies I will take offline notes and post them once I get home or I might switch to Twitter and continue covering the event live. It will depend on what I feel will work better. Please keep an eye on @mandyjwatson and @brainwavez for announcements.

This page's comments thread is open so feel free to say hello and leave notes as the day progresses.

(Please excuse any typos. I'm cleaning up as I go but I'm working in a very dark room and can't really see the keyboard.)

Design Indaba Day 1: Official Welcome
* 09:10: We're starting.
* For the seventh year running DI is sold out.
* CT is being asked to welcome JHB, which is connecting via the simulcast.
* No photography or filming allowed but tweeting encouraged.
* If you have a question you can SMS the speakers (include name) to 34180.
* Tweet tag: #designindaba.
* The most insightful tweet will win an iPad. Correction: win a Kindle.

Michael Wolff (UK): Branding
Design Indaba Profile: Michael Wolff
* "My aim has been to help organisations express themselves in their own particular way."
* We can't read the text in Michael's presentation - it's too small. I'll have to take notes based only on what he's saying.
* He's going through a presentation explaining the visuals and how they were chosen for the brands the company was working on. BOC, Bowyers, Bovis, VW, Audi, Shell, One&Only, Citi, among others. It's everything from logo design (and redesign) to billboards, packaging design, and corporate IDs.
* "Language is a critical part of what we do." - regarding editorial design, copy rewriting.
* Shell: "The colour had drifted into 'blood-clot red' and 'lemon orange'." They just cleaned it up but kept the design.
* We're skipping though this quite fast (we must have seen examples of about 30 brands) because he has limited time and a lifetime's worth of work (since 1964).
* "Photography is such a wonderful medium and to print all over it such a shame. And to give it it's full voice... it's great."
* "A lot of designers are pretty close to criminals in terms of their creativity."
* "Oxford [university] is totally text based in all it's communications. [It doesn't understand illustration. So visual design was] "quite a jump for them. They'd never seen photography as something that had anything to do with them. It evokes nostalgia in people who have been to Oxford and hopefully opens their wallets, which is the point."
* Michael now has to stop.
* Michelle Constant is now up on stage to interview Michael.
* Michelle just slammed Michael's blue Crocs as an intro to design. The simulcast audience didn't like that.
* Michelle: "The enemy of all ideas is the idea that you're working with." Michale: "What I often find is that having a great idea is a block to having more. .. Just keep throwing them away because * "Creativity is breathing something into existence that you haven't done before [...] I try to discount my expriences as often as I can [else I'm reusing my ideas]."
* "You only hve to use your curiosity [example of a person in wheelchair who can't reach an ATM.] [Ask] Why is this happening? Why is this person like this? Use your curiosity. Question things."
* Inclusive design: "My job is to make inclusive design mainstream design. My job is to make anyone wo designs anything have in their mind that anyone could be using it. [...] Many people have impairments of one sort or another. [If you design keeping the extremes in mind your design will be better.]"
* Question about looking back retrospectively: "I think I would say 'I wish there was something in education that would enable you to detach who you think you might be'. If you could detach those coaches and just be the engine of potential." [In other words - you are born with the creativity but school bashes it out of you (and the "you" out of you.]
* Tips on how to keep the creativity: Confidence is key [short point of an analogy he told].
* End of talk.

Dana Arnett (USA): Graphic Design/Branding/Advertising
Design Indaba Profile: Dana Arnett
* Over 28 years in the field.
* Brief video presentation to introduce himself. Nice form of presentation business card. Update: Sorry, this was DI speaker-intro branding.
* "We are happy when for everything inside us there is a corresponding something outside us." -- William Butler Yeats.
* He's from Illinois. Town was mainly agriculturally based. Utilitarian pottery - eating and cooking utensils. Caterpillar HQ. Dad was a banker. Mother was Menonnite and piano teacher. Her mother was a master quilter. Gene pool was one part business one part creativity.
* Grew up in 1960s. Influences: dirt bikes, Dairy Queen where people would congregate, great fascination for American muscle cars, golden age of television - turn into colour TV, he liked corny sitcoms.
* "Most of us found design in a weird way through art class or an urge to draw."
* "When I was in high school I went into the library and I found this book that was the best advertising of the 60s and that's when the lightbulb went off for me."
* Albert Brooks' Real Life: "The beginning of a [my] love affair with satirical comedy."
* "I moved to Chicago at a time when [the design industry] was beginning to fragment but [I met most of my design heroes]."
* He's struggling to speak and is losing his voice.
* "I was also really infatuated with the historic significance of design that was started in Chicago."
* "It's probably no coincidence that my early work took on those influences."
* He's running through his career and people and influences, as well as brands he's worked with, with some logo shots in the presentation.
* Film clip produced with Second City actors.
* "Lately a lot of our work has grown. We fill the walls with work and keep an open environment to create. We've been fortunate to work on a lot of big global initiatives, a lot of which are online."
* Clip from The Wild Angels, which illustrated consumers' impressions of Harley-Davidson (rebels and renegades) in contrast to the image that Harley wanted to project. "When I got to Harley [...] people have such a love for this brand that they tattoo it on themselves. You'll never see an AT&T logo."
* "There's the squeaky-clean people [families, bankers, lawyers] and the hardcord people [#all of whom are Harley fans and owners] but they can all be part of this family." Some shots of design work that tries to marry the two. Print and online work as well as redesign of stores.
* "Today we're reaching out to customers in new ways." New media, reaching out to younger customers.
* Now on to IBM.
* Initial principles when starting on the account: clarity, humanity, wit.
* "The historic significance of IBM runs deep." IBM commissioned Charles and Ray Eames, among others.
* Think tank comprising different agencies and disciplines works together to "create messaging" and to embark on the next journey of the IBM brand.
* They've opened the logo up from the eight-bar logo created in 1974 and are using the new logo as "windows" to illustrate the corporate ID via colour or imagery.
* "We're beginning to look at curating typography again."
* "What you're seeing is a new vibrant colour palette emerging." [Still on IBM] Video illustrating how the design mechanisms have been incorporated in various areas of the corporate ID.
* "I use this word 'co-authorship'. A lot of attempts [to recreate corporate IDs] fail because [they separate the different design disciplines].
* Video: 100 IBM logos showing how the company changed the world using the logos as a typographical mechanism to illustrate this.
* He ends with "...the urge for great design is much like the urge to go on living, the assumption is, somewhere hidden there's a better way of doing things. -- Harry Bertoia
* SMS question: exactly which town does he come from? [Has been interpreted as "South African sarcasm", though I'm not sure]. He's from "near Peoria".
* End of session.

[break - we'll be back in about 15 minutes. If you're finding this useful please retweet the link throughout the day:]

11:15: We're back.

Dror Benshetrit (USA/Israel): Product Design/Furniture Design
Design Indaba Profile: Dror Benshetrit
* Apparently he's going to unveiling his latest project exclusively at DI this year in about 20 minutes.
*He runs a company in New York that focusses on cross-disciplinary design - product to architecture, art direction and interior.
* His passion is in transformation "where physics and poetry meet". It's a very small design studio in the centre of Manhattan. They bring different consultants and collaborators to work with them.
* He moved to NY from Israel in 2002.
* He's demonstrating furniture that they have designed via photos and video. Practicality, aesthetics, marriage of two- and three-dimensional design.
* "Duality is something that is very interesting to me. I find duality in everything."
* Capellini Peacock chair.
* He's now discussing the architectural design of a house/building but I don't know what/where it is. It was pitched conceptually to a client in Abu Dhabi.
* Update: It's called Nurai Island.
* Commissioned to design housing and a hotel on a luxury island off the coast of Abu Dhabi. wanted to create privacy and the feeling that "I'm the only person on this island" as the conceptual direction of the project. This is very smart but hard to explain. Every villa has its own unique shape and private beach and the roof is designed as the garden. The view is always towards the horizon. Villas are suspended with bridge cables so there's no concrete inside. Climate is very hot so pools created as "ice cubes". Building plays with highest and lowest point of tide. It's an underwater building (a spa), which is oriented to the direction of the wave so it "gets a massage as you do". Final building is the "water cube". It's constantly covered with running water. They sent this presentation off after six weeks and heard back that the crown sheik of Abu Dhabi likes it and wants to build it.
* They hadn't figured out if they could build it so they had to pull in consultants to see if "this vision" could be built. They found out that you can do absolutely whatever you want in Abu Dhabi.
* The project is now being built and is very green due to the roof and the use of grey water.
* {This project is absolutely amazing.}
* 72 hours after the project was debuted it was sold out (65 residential units).
* Lots of photos and visuals.
* [I learnt a very important lesson with this project.] "If I can communciate a concept with one word this word can stay."
* The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.
* How far can an idea go? - second part of talk.
* QuaDror started four years ago working on a project for Swarovski. Four identical L-shaped pieces. Placing them in such a way that they're creating a "square Yin-Yang" next to each other, and then two more that are facing down in such as way that they form a geometry that I can't describe. By connecting one piece to the opposing one [he's demonstrating this live and there's a video] they can open up. "We really loved this and we didn't know what to do with this. [...] It's basically a hinge without any need for a revolution point. You can stack them o top of one another and create forms. Again we thought 'What can you do with this?'" They experimented - the studio has a workshop, think tank, digital studio and a space that constantly changes depending on the challenge. They realised there's a lot of products that need structural strength.
* -- Highway walls - the acoustics of this device work as a sound barrier.
* -- A new space truss.
* We're seeing demos of how the QuaDror modular construction system can be scaled and manipulated for all sorts of practical uses.
* SMS question: Low-cost versions of these projects? He's looking at remaking one of the chairs out of wood, which is much cheaper.
* "I don't really work with a brief. The briefs that I get from clients are very often wrong." [lots of applause] "A lot of time the clients are asking the wrong questions. A lot of time we return with a set of questions rather than a set of answers making them realise that their questions were not the right questions. I hope to continue to work like a kid so I don't think about [material considerations] too closely. The role of the designer is to [increase] a person's well-being."
* End of talk.

British Design Council (UK): Design Thinking/Design With A Conscience/Design Education/Industrial Design
Design Indaba Profile: David Kester
Design Indaba Profile: Deborah Szebeko
Design Indaba Profile: Luke Pearson
* David Kester: How design can nudge social behaviour.
* Brain: limbic system (instinctive, autonomic) and cognitive system (deductive, reflective)/
* What would happen if you really integrated design with the kinds of questions that policymakers (governments) tend to ask.
* Worked with the Department Of Health in the UK - healthcare-acquired infections. You go in with one complaint and leave with a superbug. (Latest statistics (37 000 deaths per year Europe; 99 000 USA). Developing world higher.) Result: Project Design Bugs Out.
* They sent designers out to work in the field. Main observation: hospitals are hard to clean.
* Lots of design briefs came out of this. Why does a hospital bedside cabinet have to look like a piece of 1970s' kitchen furniture that is hard to clean and collects dirt? Why not one piece of plastic that isn't affected by static cling?
* When a mattress is punctured and human waste goes in that causes a certain kind of infection. So insert a layer of ink that will immediately indicate that the mattress is damaged.
* Alcohol abuse: 4% of all deaths worldwide are attributed to alcohol. It's a bigger number than is associated to HIV/AIDS. 12% of the alcohol-related deaths are due to intentional injury.
* Legislate or innovate - plastic glasses. Lots of people didn't want this so designers had to innovate. Spray a bioresin on the inside of glassware (similar principle to windscreens). If the glass breaks there aren't shards.
* Therefore: open-innovation that solves social problems but also offers corporate shoves for innovation and change.
* Methodology:
* -- 1: Put design up front. Don't bring designers in in the middle. Have them help so the whole discovery process.
* -- 2: Stay open.
* -- 3: Provide a safe space for the innovation.
* -- 4: Hug a politician. The client is very important. When you've designing policy the client is like a politician.
* -- 5: No compromises.

* Luke Pearson: human behaviour and a way of seeing.
* They design for manufacture. They've been going for 14 years working with a myriad companies in different sectors. They also do product design, some of which he's introducing.
* They also work in transport, such as redesigning Virgin's upperclass seats.
* Design in the public realm: people interact with design all the time even if they don't consciously purchase it.
* What is a brief? How do you get to a brief?
* "We won't make anything unless we can identifyy a need."
* Demo movie showcasing "little movements" - the body requires movements when seated to remain comfortable. The chair design he's demoing allows for subtle body shifting.
* They look at how people interact in everyday life to observe the nuances. They designed a completely new product typology and architecture for the office. [Shots of office-furniture design.]
* Project: Design Bugs Out (which David discussed earlier [see above]).
* Expert panel with different stakeholders for feedback. Team looked at products to find the faults - is it the product or the system? Made observations (why does it take 20 minutes to clean this chair?). They broke products down with full-feature analysis, disregarding everything on the market. Do we need this feature?
* Their decision was to reduce the cleaning process (of a commode) down to a sponge and a hand (previously toothbrushes and pipe cleaners were needed). Make everything stackable to take up less space in the hospital and reduce shipping costs, which has an environmental impact.
* They got comments from hospitals, which were filtered through the stakeholders. Changes were made, where necesssary.
* Result is a stackable combo chair commode with a metal frame and a plastic seat that can be removed easily.

* Deborah Szebeko
* Question: if you could design anything to improve the way we live, what would it be?
* You can tweet responses to @deborahszebeko.
* Background is in graphic design and advertising, then went back and did an MA in communications.
* Volunteered at a children's hospital as a project manager for designing a touchscreen information system.
* Brought other designers on board to tackle issues she was observing.
* Realised this was a job she was doing so she asked to be employed but no pay code (yay government efficiency) so she reinvented herself as a "social designer" to consult.
* Their aims are to "design creative solutions to social issues that deliver value and impact. Activate people to realise their potential in society".
* They work with the UK Department of Health, among others.
* Project: Design a community-led life-coaching service to help families with complex needs achieve their needs and reduce their reliance on public services.
* There were technical difficulties so we couldn't watch the animation that had been prepared to demonstrate this project.
* Outcomes: The creation of the community coach service enables local residents to coach families. A new social business model was developed that enables community ownership. This resulted in a prototype that councils could use to roll out services that enable community interaction/participation.
* Project: How you can you design a UK-wide supportive service for people with dementia and their families?
* The design team became a group of people with dementia and their handlers. Their daily challenges were mapped to look for areas that could be improved.
* Early-stage outcomes: a dementia-advisor service was needed - people don't know where to go for information. Observations and outcomes were incorporated in the Department of Health's official strategy.
* Final outcomes: the government released 22 pilot sites across the UK, which brought in about 5 million GBP to The Alzheimer's Society, which won 18 of the pilot sites.
* Designers need to work with governments and communities, not in isolation, to tackle social issues.
* What's the business case behind an idea? How is it going to become stale? Need to find new ways of funding things.

* SMS question for David regarding how this works in a place such as South Africa in which design considerations are of no interest to the government.
* "You can't tackle everything." They went for infection control. You need to simplify issues so that everyone can understand them.
* End of session.

[break - we'll be back in about 45 minutes. If you're finding this useful please retweet the link throughout the day:]

Exclusive: Michael Wolff In The Simulcast Room
* We're back. We have Michael Wolff in the simulcast room with us for a 20-minute (or so) Q&A. We're just waiting for the people to return to the room.
* He wasn't aware that we were in a second room so he's getting an idea of what we experienced.
* "Imagine a house with four rooms in it. Two rooms upstairs, two downstairs. [I'm using this house as a metaphor for how my creativity became available to me after years of it being suppressed by school and life]. [...] Imagine we're in the first room, top floor, on left. I called that the room of great work. If my work resembled the work of one of my heroes I would be really happy. If my work had the sort of look I associated for good work I was happy. Nobody had explained plagiarism to me. I had settled for plagiarism. [...] Nobody told me there was anything wrong with this. I spent years imitating the work of people I respected."
* "I call the second room the room of reason, the room in which you had all the justification for why you did something a certain way. It was full of research. [...] It's full of rational reasons, research, [things people you tell you you should or shouldn't do]." The dangers of these rooms: "If you crete in the room of great work [...] you will create plagiarism. It's not a good room in which to work. You don't create, you imitate."
* "The second room [...] It's folly not yo go in that room but you will create mediocrity because you're answering the same questions as everyone else."
* "The third room is full of design companies and is called the room of precedent. [I did this before but it worked so we do it again. This is why every bank and petrol station looks the same.] If you create in here you will create repetition."
* "The fourth room is the room of not knowing. It's the only room in which you can create as you can only can create from nothing. [You can reference the other rooms but not create in them.] Things will happen in your mind if you're not encumbered for the need to be good/vanity, logic/reason/insight, past experience/success, then ideas will begin to appear."
* "Trust your creativity and don't look for props from other people's work, experience and the habits of the industry. [...] Go into the fourth room and wait."
* Curiosity, appreciation, imagination: these are three muscles - think of things that will let you down if you don't exercise them. "Almost everywhere you go ask yourself 'why is this like this?'."
* "Why do businesses build huge office blocks with [absurd] boardrooms?"
* "So many things will become clear to you when you ask 'Why?'."
* End of talk.

Diebedo Francis Kéré (Burkina Faso): Architecture/Sustainability
Design Indaba Profile: Francis Kéré
* How the people of Burkina Faso are building houses that are sustainable and can withstand the rainy season.
* "The problem is we're copying the Western model but we don't know the story of it [sic]."
* "The country doesn't have the power to provide the infrastructure for the people."
* "People live peacefully when they don't look to the West, they don't look to the media."
* Photos of architecture in the rural zone. Inspired by nature but colour [attempts to "paint"] disappears after rain.
* Primary building material in this part of the world is clay but water destroys it {if I understand correctly?}. The temperature inside a clay building when it's 40 degrees Celcius outside is problematic. {Or suitable - it was left hanging so I'm not sure. Ambiguous.}
* Example of a concrete mosque that needs to be repaired each year because the construction and materials are not suited to the environment.
* He built a school made completely from clay against advice but it was successful.
* The building was built by the community. Ceiling made with clay bricks that they made themselves. 10 years on - no maintenance. Cross-ventilation system through building and roof structure.
* Example of a staff-housing compound that can be replicated. Features: collect rain water for irrigation, among other things.
* They use "primitive tools to make a complicated structure".
* "I just give them a frame and they [community] play - they own it. Even animals really love what we do. They [community] just use it and they love it because it's their building."
* "I am trying to build buildings that are 'breathing houses'. [...] My people are very proud about that because it's their work."
* He's explaining simple techniques that they developed, in this case turning a floor of stones into a smooth surface. Suitable for anyone in the community to do.
* {This is a very African talk addressing truly African issues in an African way. Lots of humour too.}
* Quick explanation of how they use laterite, among other substances (welded steel fames, I think), and build from a simple model. Design allows for natural ventilation on top (light and air).
* Discussions of some projects that had Western obliviousness hitting African problems, as well as some collaborative successes.
* End of talk.

Karin Fong (USA): Animation/Film/Digital Media
Design Indaba Profile: Karin Fong
* Showcase of some of the work she has been doing in a variety of projects.
* Opening sequence of Going The Distance. It's about making transitions and connections - the theme of this talk.
* "Metaphorically I'm building a pathway from [the real world to a world] of fantasy."
* They work in small groups with many of the staff members juggling different hats. A lot of it is about team work.
* She studied graphic design and thought she'd be a children's book illustrator. "Children are natural surrealists [and can make those sorts of connections between things that aren't connected]." We're being shown examples that relate to this.
* We've just been shown through a campaign that showcased real designers on the theme of "Real/Not[ real", called "Get Real".
* Project: Dead Man On Campus title sequence using the theme of a suicide aptitude test.
* {If you look at the examples of these campaigns you can get an idea of her work and the connections that she builds into it.}
* Project: The Cat In The Hat title sequence. Escher combined with Rube Goldberg combined with 3D - initial storyboards. What they ended up doing was what you can see at the link I've posted here.
* Project: Boardwalk Empire main titles They could use the actors and the set for their project. (The set was built from scratch because the area in its current form is no longer reflective of the era of the show.) We're being shown a concept video they put together that's a montage of the era and shows the surrounds of the main character but never him himself. The final sequence is very different, as you can see from the link. "We want a final product that can't be put in front of any other show." [It must be unique.] What was supposed to be an elaborate shoot on the set ended up being a much quicker shoot on the beach with Steve Buscemi.
* Project: Magic Trip: Ken Kesey's Search For A Kool Place. "Never ever ignore your source material or your subject. [...] Ken Kesey is a prolific doodler, which was useful for developing the aesthetic." Karin is explaining all the imagery in the sequence and how and why they came to use it.
* See more of Karin's work here (Human Target, God Of War III).
* End of talk.

* They're having technical difficulties so they're tossing a few SMS questions at Karin. She's been asked about the collaboration on a project - how any people, what they do. It depends on the project.

Richard Hart (South Africa): Graphic Design/Illustration
Design Indaba Profile: Richard Hart
* Very funny animated video sequence to give introduction to his history.
* He's referencing a Werner Herzog quote about "ecstatic truth" as a theme for his talk.
* This is a difficult talk to summarise as so far it's mainly visual and about other people's work.
* "No matter how simple the idea the execution isn't always simple."
* Richard Wilson: 20:50 (also here), David Shrigley drawings, work by nendo, Alan Fletcher: The Art Of Looking Sideways.
* We're now seeing some of the work that Richard's studio has produced, in which they tried to find the "perfect moments" that some of these examples have illustrated.
* {This is impossible to summarise as it's all visual and about things that are "totally useless". You'll see there are few tweets too.}
* "The joy of design - finding those little things that you can get really self satisfied about."
* End of session.

[break - 30 minutes - if you're finding this useful please retweet the link:]

hat-trick (Jim Sutherland and Gareth Howat) (UK): Graphic Design/Branding
Design Indaba Profile: hat-trick (Jim Sutherland and Gareth Howat)
* "The art of mind tickling."
* The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public. -- George Jessel, actor.
* The company has been going for 10 years and always has tons of projects going on. If they can amuse themselves, "tickle their own mind", then they feel they're doing a good job.
* They're going to zip through 19 projects to showcase.
* 19: temporary hoarding for a shop at Piccadilly lights. They built an enormous light switch. You are supposed to get permission so they had a company put it up overnight at 2am. It stayed up for about six weeks. Pictures started appearing on Flickr and FB with people "switching" the light.
* 18: a series of stamps. They researched WWI images. The stems of the poppy on the example stamp is barbed wire. They were then asked to for a whole series as it was so popular. The poppy remained the iconic design within the stamps with the war elements more subtly incorporated.
* 17: Natural History Museum to redesign kids' worksheets. They came up with "the very simple idea of doing the covers as masks". You can tear it off and keep it while having to return the workbook to your teacher - souvenir.
* 16: property development. The company was going to reuse 85% of the materials from the old building. They asked a sculptor friend to rummage around on the site and gather materials. He built a series of "sculptural trees". At the launch event they installed the trees and backlit them with a silhouette, with the actual tree and its composition revealed later.
* 15: Darwin's 200th anniversary. They had to focus on Darwin's different areas of discovery. They designed stamps jigsaw shaped and convinced Royal Mail to cut them that way.
* 14: pogonology (the study of beards) - they had to produce a poster for Darwin 200 and commissioned an "amazing illustrator from Japan" to do a line drawing in a beard shape that connects all the important events from Darwin's life.
* 13: Salvation Army: Their old building was old and closed and the new was like an open glass box, but cold. They did a modern twist on stained glass and made all the glass panels transparent [the graphics, he means] and set Bible quotes all around the front of the building. They used Gil Sans for the typography. You get big shafts of coloured light when the sun shines through - almost like a stained-glass effect.
* 12: creature comforts: had to create a "bereavement resource" - a pack for children who had lost a parent to heart disease. Some of the original materials were very inappropriate. They used a professional storyteller who is also a professional counsellor to create a story about a creature who loses a friend and goes through all the emotions. Other counsellors said the pack needs to be tactile so they used felt and created a bag, soft toy, and so forth centred around the main character. Children can use the resources to recreate the scenes from the book.
* 11: stamps: 100th anniversary of the first Morse Code signal. Found a photographer who takes stunning seascapes and is also a lifeboat operator. They changed the perforations on the stamps to spell out SOS.
* 10: illuminated letters: they do a lot of hoarding work (signage) around London and see it as a big canvas that they can use. They made an A to Z of Victoria for the area with the history of Victoria written by alphabet (Busby, New Scotland Yard, Deckchairs, X = voting in Westminster; Pelicans), then printed them large scale and installed them. They used the letters to spell out big sentences, such as "KNOW VICTORIA", as the hoarding covered kilometres of space.
* 09: great apes: this is a typography project that relates to deforestation and the plight of the great apes. It had a very limited budget.
* 08: monkey + comedy = banana skin: they plastered an auditorium used for fund raising with printed banana skins.
* 07: identity for a new museum of illustration that will be opened in London in a few years. They were approached by Quentin Blake. They're using a sketchbook page as the basis of the design. The business cards are a 20-page mini sketchbook do if feels as if you're getting a little drawing with their details on the back.
* 06: thrown away: another charity client - urban kids that get themselves into trouble - a last-chance organisation before kids end up in prison. They incorporated the kids' personal stories into the annual report by having the kids draw their life stories on brown paper bags, then had them shot wearing the bags, then without the bags so you can see the turnaround caused by the organisation.
* 05: my dad's garage is full of spiders: One of the presenter's dads died and he was asked to clear out his dad's garage. They found a set of Allen Keys of which two were missing and so it looked like a spider. Then they spent the day photographing everything in the garage. Zorro and his collection of moustaches (a set of springs). They just found stuff and put it on a lightbox and then turned it into a book. The solar system - a circular saw and washers.
* 04: making the logo bigger. They carved up an enormous open space in the client's logo and filmed it. The project then went on to other designs and experiments.
* 03: shooting people. They were sent portfolios of photographs to use and were asked to produce a book for the client's 10th anniversary (a group of street photographers - 10 photos per person).
* 02: architectural firm. The client always has to reinvent proposals every time it gets a new client so they went to help. They have projects that are tall and thin or wide so the solution was to build a brochure that's got no printing and is just die cut so you can slot in case studies however you want - can build whatever book you need for the architects to take to a client. I'm explaining badly but it's a great idea.
* 01: another personal project: They designed a set of typographical playing cards. No repeat typeface, no redrawing. {amazing collection}
* Those who tickle themselves may laugh when they please -- German proverb.

Charlie Todd (USA): Performance
Design Indaba Profile: Charlie Todd
* We're seeing the Improv Everywhere video from Sunday's MP3 Experiment in Cape Town.
* Big laugh as a red double-decker tour bus drove past the experiment.
* Explaining his history: moved to New York in 2001 to be an actor. Friend said he looks like Ben Folds. He was itching to perform and to try to create something. He set up with a friend in a bar who did the "OMG it's Ben Folds" thing and asked for an autograph. People started asking for autographs and photos and the bartender gave him free drinks. He exited gracefully without revealing himself and then posted the story online the next day.
* This gave him the idea to set up "scenes of chaos of joy in public places" but with the point of people being able to walk away with a positive experience.
* We're now watching a video of a no-pants subway ride experiment.
* "I like creating moments that get strangers to react with each other in a funny and positive way."
* "I started doing things that were larger and larger in scale as the years went by."
* Video of Look Up More project, with commentary.
* Video: Best Buy 2006 - get as many people as possible to go into a Best Buy in blue polo shirt and khaki pants (Best Buy uniform).
* Video: Frozen Grand Central (2007, uploaded 2008). This one went viral - 10 million views in a couple of weeks. Now about 22 million. About three months later a fan made a map of the world to indicate where this experiment was replicated around the world by fans. (Including Johannesburg.)
* The 200th episode of Law And Order: Special Victims Unit featured Robin Williams playing a version of Charlie Todd. The character is apprehended as he is frozen in place at Grand Central Station.
* Video: Food Court Musical (2007).
* Video MP3 Experiment New York City 2007 (time lapse).
* Video snippet: Human Mirror.
* "Some ideas are emailed to me or ideas are emailed that inspire ideas. Other members of the group come up with ideas. [Spaces inspire ideas.]"
* Video snippet: High-Five Escalator in New York.
* Video snippet: Star Wars Subway Car.
* "[I've discovered that] there is a human instinct to photograph Darth Vader as soon as you see him."
* Video snippet: No Pants Subway Ride 2009.
* This year there were 3 500 participants in New York.
* Last video - not on YouTube yet. "King Philip"
* They will be doing another event in Cape Town on Sunday (they haven't yet decided what). Follow the Twitter account here for more info.
* SMS question: how do you get paid?
* He's written a book and he gets speaking engagements around the world. "Just create as much as possible and don't worry about making money from it. If the work is good hopefully it will rise to the top [and you will find a way of becoming successful]."
* End of session.

17:46: That's the end of the conference for today. Keep an eye on the site for more coverage tomorrow.

Mandy J Watson is a media guest of the Design Indaba 2011 Young Designers Simulcast.

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