Digital Materiality: Digital Fabrication and Hybridity in Graphic Design

By Aaron Seymour.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Design disciplines are often conceptualised in terms of their material output. For visual communicators this is seen as a concern with two-dimensional print and screen. However new directions in practice, motivated in part by new production technologies, are challenging this assumption. Traditional boundaries between the graphic, industrial and architectural are dissolving. Digital fabrication techniques (laser-cutting, rapid-prototyping, physical computing etc) are increasingly available to the small-scale designer. Practitioners are utilising these new tools – as well as the conceptual reappraisal they encourage – to explore the material and sculptural boundaries of their disciplines.

Graphic Material, held in in 2010 as part of Sydney Design 10, examined this development. The exhibition showcased hybrid practices through new and innovative works by an international selection of designers. Robotic drawing machines, spot-welded posters and visuals that grow over time describe just some of the works by participants that included Graphic Thought Facility, Collider, 3Deep Design, David Pidgeon, Toko, Mark Gowing, Multistorey, Oscar Diaz Studio and Bert Simons. This presentation will present an overview of the exhibition, teasing out its thematic concerns. These include: whether design can be characterised by a set of discipline specific cognitive frameworks and methodologies; the often unacknowledged effects of new technological toolsets on creative thinking and production; and the hybridisation of design practices.

Keywords: Graphic Design, Visual Communication, Rapid Prototyping, Lasercutting, Digital Fabrication, Exhibition, Technology, Graphic Material, Digital Materiality

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp.527-534. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 3.574MB).

Aaron Seymour

Senior Lecturer, School of Commuication Arts, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia

Aaron Seymour is a designer, artist and academic with a long-standing interest in the intersection of design and technology. His design practice has encompassed print, interactive, animation and exhibition design. An award winning filmmaker, Aaron has an MA Hons in Digital Media from the Australian, Film, Televion and Radio School. His work as a multimedia and exhibition designer features in numerous museums and cultural institutions in Australia and the United Kingdom. Aaron is currently a Lecturer in Visual Communications at the University of Technology Sydney.

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