Incite by Design

Caustic visions and shared thoughts on design, marketing, creativity, philanthropy, pop culture and business philosophy by Toronto design firm, Ricksticks Inc.

2005-05-03

Massive Response

I have just recently visited the Massive Change exhibit. My response ended up quite conflicted. I loved seeing a dialogue about design brought into the public realm and this work definitely brought up some points that need addressing. However, as someone who has launched an exhibition before, I felt the design of the space compromised usability and I would argue that usability is the most important aspect of what we do.

Descriptive text was tucked into corners making visitors either crowd together or stand in line to read it (think of tour groups). Often the text was attached well below sight lines forcing one to crouch down on the ground (think of older visitors). The audio device could have compensated for this but didn't. I was a pretty determined viewer but sometimes the text was too far behind a rope barrier and too small to read. In addition, I found the wayfinding disturbingly absent. Where are the washrooms? Which room do I go to next in order to view the whole exhibit? The message was an essential one, and if you want people to hear it, you need to address all of the above. Free exploration just can't cut it. There, that's my rant.

Despite these issues I still enjoyed the exhibit. Designing space creates a whole new set of problems and it was interesting to see so many different approaches hinging on a common theme. Also, the content was intriguing and perhaps this will further the dialogue raging over the responsibilities we have as designers. Is it up to us to seek out environmentally friendly options for our clients? What is the new role of the corporation in the fight for the planet? Has Bill Gates become the 21st century version of Greenpeace? Or is this a concern for ones corporate image and just another method of advertising? Where do we as designers fit into this? Will there be any response and will it envoke massive change?

What do you think?
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