The Role of
Women in Design
Lecture on the future of graphic design at Zeebelt symposium
‘BESTAAT HET VAK GRAFISCH ONTWERP OVER 10 JAAR NOG?’/‘WILL GRAPHIC DESIGN AS A PROFESSION STILL EXIST IN 10 YEARS FROM NOW?’ A two day long symposium about the future of Graphic Design. If this profession want to last in an era in which technology is developing constantly, then we have to do something! The graphic designer needs to be changed into a critical visual entertainer, that uses humor and (social) engagement as the most essential ingredients in his or her work.
(Or: How graphic design should reinvent itself. A report of the two day symposium about the future of graphic design)
“In an almost sold out Zeebelt theatre in The Hague, renowned Dutch designer Gert Dumbar gives his call to arms to graphic designers. If graphic design wants to survive in our rapidly changing technopoly, he says, the mentality of the designer needs to change. Therefore Dumbar has initiated the two day symposium ‘will graphic design still exist in 10 years?’, together with Zeebelt and The Royal Academy of Art (KABK). To give answer to this question, Dumbar has collected a broad range of designers to speak about the future of the profession from their standpoint. (...) Instead of presenting their work, with which most of the audience is already well familiar, Strange Attractors (Catelijne van Middelkoop and Ryan Pescatore Frisk) take on a social issue. Van Middelkoop starts off with a quote by Milton Glaser: “women get pregnant, have children, go home and take care of their children. And those essential years that men are building their careers and becoming visible are basically denied to women who choose to be at home.” At first the talk seems to be a general discussion on the role of women in design: stressing the need to not make your sex the subject (referring to ‘nipple pieces’ popular while the attractors were students at Cranbrook). We also get some insights into how well known female designers use Facebook to discuss articles like ‘Women at the Drawing Board’. But when six powerful women in the world of design are introduced, we learn they have one thing in common: they didn’t have children. So we’re back at the beginning: the Attractors are in their thirties, and the question of whether you can combine children with a design career is obviously personal. The question is left open: although Van Middelkoop is inclined to believe Glaser, Laurie Haycock tells her otherwise.”