The Designed Life – Part One

CanDoRemember those advertising layout of the late 1990’s and early 2000 era – the ones that had blue backgrounds and white squares on them? And graphics of what almost looked like technical drawings with crosses in the centres of circles and fake lines? And someone with a stubble, expensive haircut and aviator glasses? And were trying to sell soap or toothpaste?

Well that ain’t what this series of posts is going to be about.

That’s about selling toothpaste. It’s the theatre of technology that fools you into thinking someone is drawing up plans for toothpaste, and that they know far better than you how to do it. If you buy their product they may come to approve of you. Like any theatre, the techno-toothpaste show looks better when you dim your mental lights and naked dancing girls come out.

Okay – what this series of posts will be about is the idea that we can design our lives. Not in an airy-fairy new age way – and not in a financial way. Not even designing relationships or careers or anything like that -but designing the items that make up our own – our very own – environment. Every man Or woman his own Dreyfuss, Gropius, or Bel Geddes.

Big thought? Big idea? Big nonsense? Judge for yourselves when you get further along.

Like most really good addictions, design can be introduced in small amounts until the victim is hooked. The nickel bag of design is a sharp HP pencil and a yellow legal pad with lines on it. It can be taken everywhere and disguised as a pencil and a pad of yellow paper. No-one need to know that the possessor of the pad is making a fulcrum upon which to move the world.

Note: you could do it on a computer with a graphic program and a Wacom tablet, but you would be spending so much time trying to get the thing to be a computer that you would lose out on the ability to make it into a pencil and pad. Go to that later when you have mastered the business of completing a drawing before you erase your way through the sheet. And do practise putting your tongue out of the side of your mouth – it is unattractive to be sure, but a traditional gesture of our people.


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