Morf Academy: The Slash Slash Dilemma – What Position Do You Choose as a Designer?

Morf Academy, organised by Morf magazine, the Van Abbe Museum and Premsela, the Dutch Platform for Design and Fashion, discusses the position a designer holds. Why do some designers choose to be artists while others prefer to express themselves as businessman or even activists.

The city of Eindhoven, the Netherlands, is an outstanding candidate for World Design Capital 2012 and the seminar Morf Academy at the Dutch Design Week was one event to prove it.

Morf Academy, organised by Morf magazine, the Van Abbe Museum and Premsela, the Dutch Platform for Design and Fashion, discusses the position a designer holds. Why do some designers choose to be artists while others prefer to express themselves as businessman or even activists.

The head editor of Morf, Timo de Rijk, takes the lead in introducing the views on design by the more well known practitioners. Philippe Starck, Rem Coolhaas, David Ogilvy and Tom Ford all have distinct beliefs on what they are, and most definitely what they are not. In general, choosing a road to walk within the fields of design has been a poignant matter for every designer.

In contrary to older generations, many young designers nowadays have the opportunity to be good at a number of things rather than just one, due to digital media and online communities. This know-how created a new generation of slash/ slash designers; young creatives who choose to undertake multiple careers – often creating position names for themselves.

Upcoming Dutch graphic illustrator Piet Parra is a typical example of this generation.

As main guest during the seminar, he shared a quick summary of his past and current occupations: graphic Illustrator, t-shirt designer, digital photographer, music video director, pop-musician and pro-skateboarder. He strives to blend his beliefs, talents and actions in a cocktail he calls ‘graphic artist’.

The most striking of slash/ slashers like Parra is that his multi-task designer status never feels as complex to the practitioner as it would seem to an outsider. According to Parra his status as a graphic artist is a natural flow of circumstances:

“I like to make things which look good, to express myself in different fields and make people laugh”.

Nevertheless, commercialism is not unknown to him. In this matter he shares the viewpoint of advertising mogul David Ogilvy:

” if it doesn’t sell, it’s not creative”

, stating that he will question the quality of his work if it stayed unsold.

When asked about his opinion on designers like Banksy, who keep their personal status as well as their position a mystery, Parra replied: “I believe Banksy is a human like all of us. He’s probably smiling too behind his mask when a lot of people show up for his exposition.

More Information:

Parra: Clothing / Music

Contributed by Hortense Koster of the Purple List

PSFK’s Purple List is a network of experts for hire. The list is comprised of designers, journalists, marketers, and entrepreneurs. The Purple List has been used by journalists to find expert views on new stories; by agencies in search of talent; and by global research consultancies. Plus, PSFK uses the Purple List both as a source of editorial research and opinion on PSFK and as a source of paid expertise when performing client work.

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