September 16, 2016

Unity Culture Club: On Your Radar – 16.09.16

London Design Festival kicked off this week, showcasing innovative work across the city. Joined by London Fashion Week this weekend, and the imminent Frieze Art Fair in October, the capital is currently a hotbed of creativity.

With so many beautiful objects on show, we are reminded of the old Bauhaus mantra, ‘Design not just for design’s sake’ – emphasising the importance of creating art where form follows function, and the principle that the design of an object should be based upon its intended purpose. Does design have as much significance when it prioritises aesthetic over functionality?

At Unity, we’re more in the William Morris camp of thinking; looking for things that are beautiful and useful (we like having our cake and eating it, after all).  When creating anything, whether it’s a piece of design or a campaign, achieving a balance between the two will ultimately increase people’s happiness and achieve greater cut-through.

So this week, we’ve collated picks which play with the idea of form and function, to help you discover your own position on the debate…

1. BROWN BETTY TEAPOT

The power of good design through form and function is showcased in a new exhibition at Vitsoe, with the star of the show the humble Brown Betty teapot – summed up by Ian McIntyre who, as part of his doctorate has curated the exhibition: “The chances are, if I asked you to draw a teapot from memory, you’d think of a shape not too dissimilar from the Brown Betty. That’s because it’s one of the most manufactured teapots in British history.”

The ritual of tea drinking has remained virtually unchanged for centuries. A sequence of actions, familiar to us all. And the teapot itself is a classic example of how a marriage between form and function – refined over generations – equates to great design.

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2. A LOAD OF JARGON

A linguistic take on the form and function debate can be perfectly seen in the case of business lingo; meaningless and redundant catchphrases that don’t seem to actually stand for anything.

For a playful celebration of these industry buzzwords, pop into The Conran Shop next week for It’s Nice That’s contribution to London Design Festival: a series of five original artworks by creative duo Isabel + Helen.

Presenting a witty and immersive experience, the installation takes on the jargon we’re all a little guilty of using – particularly in design and communication – phrases like ‘blue sky thinking’, ‘game changers’, and ‘target audience’.

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3. FARMING DESIGN

Our friends over at Free Range this week launched Gallery Six, a new initiative aimed at recent design graduates looking for a space to develop something beautiful and useful. Providing them with a fully connected workspace, an opportunity to collaborate with other like-minded members, and develop their personal projects (free of charge) Gallery Six offers a support system for young creatives, right at the centre of London’s creative quarter.

You’ll also be working alongside the Free Range team in the space, arguably the best part.

Apply here and email info@gallery-six.co.uk with any questions.

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4. CREATIVE TALK

Speaking of form over function and making creative decisions, check out this enlightening podcast about creativity in our industry. Hearing from leading names in both advertising and PR, the podcast explores the differences in creativity between the two disciplines.

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5. OYR MEETS ANGHARAD LEWIS

This week, the On Your Radar team caught up with editor and publisher Angharad Lewis at the launch of her new book, ‘So You Want To Publish A Magazine?’. As well as sharing some brilliant insights and tips about the world of publishing and what it takes to create a stand-out magazine, we had a chat about where she finds her inspiration and what she thinks about aesthetic vs words.

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