One of our themes this year, “A Little Pick-Me-Up” gives designers the space to run free with their boldest ideas and creations. Playfulness can also be used as a design tool to inspire and recharge your bandwidth and emotional IQ to generate new ideas and creations. The conversation about digital design should remain critical of bad designs of the past and future.
This article is meant to be a guide that points you in the right direction of resources to dive into that aid in playfulness and encourage you to let loose, while also shining light on projects, communities & individuals that are inspiring. We must not discount all of the people who are working towards a more sustainable and equal future for the planet, humans, and our animal relatives, while simultaneously adding a bit of fun and hope for the future. We have formally highlighted how we arrived at our three themes this year, and the committee of talented individuals behind the brainstorming process. Yet there is still so much to unearth about “A Little Pick-Me-Up”.
Softer is a network that is committed to rewriting that tech is hard. Softer is a platform that has a feminist consciousness, and practices values like care, compassion, empathy and community which are more valued. Softer is on the path towards equal opportunity to learn and practice digital design.
Is a nonprofit design organization that uses new and old traditions to heal the connection between humans and nature. Their bold and aesthetically pleasing designs are geared towards healing and nurturing emotional IQs.
A relational practice that creates kinships and mutually beneficial relationships between people, materials, and the immaterial and virtual world. Ma•tt•er focuses on changing mindsets, behaviors and mechanisms towards futures with a focus on care and respect. Matter has created a lot of products that showcase major shapeshifters in material design where sustainability is at the forefront of their creations. Their published book Why Materials Matter is a must read.
Data Through Design
An independent collective that analyzes, collects, and deconstructs data from a critical thinking point of view. There latest exhibition Ground Truth IRL (in real life) is a continuation of DxD virtual exhibit Ground Truth.
Created by Ikea and Space10 works with advancements in technology to improve life at home. Their most recent project Kaleidoscope Home with Artists Tin Nguyen and Edward Cutting, is an augmented reality application that upgrades life at home through playful interactions to improve physical and emotional wellbeing. The app was created to explore how you can digitally augment your physical space to energize individuals to live life in an active, creative and more playful way of moving through life.
A Hong Kong game platform that dedicates its business and visual identity to creating a fun and inspiring experience for every gamer. In 2021 they partnered with London design team Pentagram. The new identity celebrates the users and creates a personal Nuverse experience, with colorful player figures that enable the brand to share its stories.
A black femme-led digital art and research collective, their exhibition _origins is an ethereal XR experience and new media art exhibition which reimagnes black femme futures.
Terrazzo Bottle- UP
As a digital designer it’s important not to discount all of the innovation in material design, which can be applied to digital design. All of the products are made from a residual flow of glass fragments.
Sawdust Smoked Ceramics- Granby Workshop
The workshop set out to use local materials collected from the disused Victorian terraced houses in the Granby neighborhood of Liverpool. Each piece is designed uniquely with the practice of chance and improvisation.
A vast network of creative platforms that promote a ‘barrier free’ space for talents in design. Talenthouse offers a variety of platforms to use such as Ello which could be compared to dribble. The focus of Talenthouse is to create a space where like minded individuals can contribute, evolve and share ideas amongst one another.