RIP: the american center for design.
April 28, 2002 11:19 PM   Subscribe

RIP: the american center for design. the acd was, at one point, the only organization to create forums in which design professionals - from information architects to typographers to materials specifications experts and back again - could discuss the cultural impacts of their disciplines, no matter the distance between their media. an era of intelligence in design ends, sadly.
posted by patricking (7 comments total)
they could talk about that stuff at or something... no need to get all fatalistic...
posted by techgnollogic at 11:36 PM on April 28, 2002

actually, yes, it is worth a degree of fatalism. the living surfaces conferences were always some of the best pools of high-level thinking about what design is to achieve on a cultural level. there is no other organization that addresses all of the design disciplines as a cohesive force. all the other ones are focused on their individual craft; very seldom message.
posted by patricking at 11:53 PM on April 28, 2002

I will miss the Living Surfaces conferences, they have always reflected well on the design industry. An intelligent discussion in an otherwise fragmented and diluted profession.
posted by mook at 12:28 AM on April 29, 2002

If the cultural impact of design is important, then there will be discussion of it - on all levels... maybe without open bar Adobe parties or whatever, but it'll get done. Your assertion that design will now get stupid because some organization can't hold conferences every year is silly.
posted by techgnollogic at 12:29 AM on April 29, 2002

Your assertion that design will now get stupid because some organization can't hold conferences every year is silly.

bitter; were the conferences exclusionary and schizophrenic? i guess they all kind of are.
geniuses abound, but there is no community. uninspired, untalented people will always try to do stuff they can't really do, thus, there will always be stupid design, stupid books, stupid policies; sharing ideas with them does nothing. sharing ideas with those who get it pushes it to the next level.
posted by elle at 12:59 AM on April 29, 2002

“An era of intelligence in design ends” is surely an overstatement. However, ACD's demise is a loss.

4 years ago, when I was still a design student, I had a great experience at an ACD student conference in Chicago. Sure, part of it had to do with the fact that I was hanging out with my fellow design students in Chicago (ah, 4 am closing time), but the conference itself, along with the traveling “100 Show,” was actually thought-provoking and inspiring. I remember enjoying Martin Venezky's presentation, and it was fairly instructive to see the mistakes (and good ideas) of other students' portfolios and to get some critiques (however weak) of my own work (however weak).

The ACD obviously tried to facilitate intelligent discourse about design. I don't know what its demise means for the profession, but it's probably not a good sign. The problem with good design is that it's too subtle for the general public, which then assumes it's easy.

[BTW, the only thing I could find related to design in a short perusal of was Scandinavians exchanging code snippets....]
posted by gohlkus at 1:12 AM on April 29, 2002

i've been deeply worried about the future of the design industries for some time now: the dot-com boom threw too many newly-graduated designers into jobs they couldn't handle, what with no real-world experience (client and collaborator management). and now, due to this global influx of talent, we have a glut of hands and very few ideas powering the industry (note that many "designer sites" rip off the same stylistic devices with no regard to why their work looks the way it does...check a few links at k10k or DiK for verification). now it feels like a bunch of wannabes cockblocking each other with seven-pixel type and navigation that makes no sense whatsoever.

if there's ever been a worse time for discourse about design to go away, i can't think of when that would be.
posted by patricking at 1:24 AM on April 29, 2002

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