The year after college I did a fellowship on graphic design and where it was going. I worried a lot about how styles could be co-opted and rendered almost immediately ubiquitous. I ended by looking hopefully at what The Made Shop refers to in this wonderful talk as “The Handmade Digital”, designs that contained the evidence of their own labored creation. I continue to love this stuff and I used to make things like it using the same workflow of conception, building, capture and then digital fine-tuning. As in those posters I was just looking at or on the Blood Blister Sisters header.
Due to the pressure to have some sort of conclusion or arc to the fellowship presentation I made, I positioned works like this as a possible way out or antidote to style ouroboros. A position I felt unsure of then and am even more skeptical of now. Lots of good design and art can be created conceptually, and privileging physical construction can arbitrarily lock a lot of great stuff out.
But there’s no pressure on me to come to a conclusion now, and so things like this can just be stuff I love, and I love all of these of projects, and the process behind them, a lot.
What I do want to keep thinking about is “creative friction” as it relates to code. I definitely feel that creative friction in making web stuff, and one of the reasons I’m determined to be a designer-dev is because of the happy accidents that do occur in the process of putting something together that take you somewhere you didn’t expect to go. But it also seems like there should be some distinctions made between the material of the world and the material of the web. Like that the function of physical materials, or the apparatus behind a physical machine, is self-evident to everyone in a way that code generally is not. You could maybe ask (I probably will ask) what would it mean to “show the cords” on the web? Exciting unanswered questions!
The quote slides for the talk are also all just perfect.