News & events > Collaboration, Cultural Nuance + Localism - reshaping the design monolith
08 Dec 2020

Collaboration, Cultural Nuance + Localism - reshaping the design monolith

Collaboration, Cultural Nuance + Localism—A Conversation on Reshaping the Design Monolith - in this article by Somnath Bhatt for AIGA Eye on Design, three designers from Indonesia, India, and Ivory Coast discuss incorporating local visual culture at the core of their processes.

Sometimes the design scene can feel like a Eurocentric monolith. Does every app need to look as if it were designed by someone in the Bay Area? Or can it reflect the location in which it was built and the people it’s meant to serve? Does design education need to rely so heavily on the Bauhaus model, or can there be regionalized models of visual inquiry? And when we design, why do our cultural backgrounds and identities end up being merely in the “background” of our work, never intrinsic to it? 

Westernized pedagogy and practices prevail in the design industry all over the world, but they are not the only models to look towards. I’ve been interested in following the makers and thinkers whose practices speak to possibilities outside of a Eurocentric mode of designing and instead shifts in between global and regional cultural context. The work I’ve found affirms that design isn’t only good for furthering corporate competition and success, but also for telling our own personal narratives, rich histories, and dynamic geo-local realities. These practices also tell a different narrative of design, one that allows for rich collaborations and cultural nuance, that incorporates local visual culture and values at the core of a process rather than a surface treatment, and that shows design’s utility outside of and beyond industry. 

Somnath Bhatt sat down with three such designers—Kresna Dwitomo of Bandung, Indonesia-based design and creative strategy studio Projek Agni; Ivorian artist and designer O’Plerou Grebet; and the New Delhi-based designer, researcher, and visual artist Ishan Khosla of Ishan Khosla Design LLP and The Typecraft Initiative—to talk about how they’re forming a practice that is enspirited, locally engaged, yet still in dialogue with the broader design world. 

Read the full interview here