Andrew Bolton in The First Monday in May

Design and Always Raising the Bar

I just had a conversation with a designer friend at my day job concerning an issue we as designers run into sometimes. Raising the bar and keeping up with the momentum. It brought to mind a documentary I just watched.

The First Monday in May is a great example of a successful project putting pressure on the creative to outdo what you’ve done before. A good insight from the documentary is when Andrew Bolton, Curator at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, describes the challenge from critics comparing fashion exhibitions to the very popular Steve McQueen exhibition from 2010.

How often as a designer I hear this about work we’ve done in our department or work being compared to another successful project where the team gelled so nicely and everyone was on the same page or a truly inspiring project that merited equally inspired design. On a daily basis the work we do is always at a 100 percent, but the outcome can’t always be the same or held up to the same standards. If it’s the team with different ideas, being spread too thin, or a project that doesn’t merit the same attention, this all contributes to anxiety over it being received as a truly successful project.

This is a wonderful documentary that explores this topic as well as many other creative dilemmas, such as the art world not considering fashion a true form of art and the subtlety creatives must use when presenting ideas and inspiration over ignorance and the inappropriate.

Pantone and People

I’m pretty obsessed with anything Pantone related. Angélica Dass has created a project named humanæ, which is based on race and on going with the objective of mapping all possible human skin tones through Pantone codes. By displaying people with their true skin color she debunks our social generalization and categorization of people in terms of basic black, white, red or yellow. We are so much more than that and this project shows that beautiful truth.

Still from Dior and I

Dior and I, Design Synergy

I just watched Dior and I, a documentary that explores Raf Simmons’ first couture collection with the iconic fashion house Dior. What I love about this documentary is that it explores every corner of the design process. From visionary Raf to the seamstresses and tailors that work to make the show a reality.
One of the story conflicts is the ever present lack of time and the challenges one’s superiors introduce in any design team. A successful project is the effort of many and the documentary communicates this, while showing the challenges of each in the team.