Overground Magazine

Just like Pirates.



IED Torino Visual Arts.

A creative laboratory reading the contemporary to interpret tomorrow


by Michele Bortolami & Tommaso Delmastro, photo Andrea Lo Bianco


If the crisis is an opportunity, the key is knowing how to read the context. The situation of the creative market has never been in more of a critical evolution than in recent years.Technology has made the tools once reserved for disciplines and trades accessible to an ever larger share of the population. More and more people are able to solve the small problems of everyday life, including vocational education, without using technical or intermediate figures, but simply through the use of apps, software, tutorials, and other easily available online tools. This general situation, which in the future will only increase, represents a great opportunity for designers: finally freeing themselves from the subordinate role of performer / technician depository of mechanical knowledge and return to being an outright designer.

In these times, in which great knowledge and the disseminating of the digital blending with art gives us the ability to be self- sufficient, it is creating a culture of makers. People who are able to think innovatively and to create exactly what they’ve imagined, merging with an unexpected and creative smart technology and an analogue tradition, contaminating disciplinary languages and hacking the traditional system that knowledge is transmitted. People who imagine the future, and who know how to get it done themselves. In this context, we are witnessing a paradox that within a few years has made most of the Italian design schools outdated realities that continue to create young designers who have grown up in the false dichotomy of analog vs digital. The world moves fast, and any company involved in producing is forced to chase and also change to survive.

Professional figures change, which in most cases are auto-generated outside the contexts related to teaching. The most nimble and likely to switch, survive. Others are crushed by the market. And in all this what is the new role of the school? Read the world, to propose appropriate means, to form professionals suited to work today and imagine those of tomorrow. And what will be the role of the graphic designer in the coming years? We believe that the answer lies in overcoming the division of analog vs. digital, in the breaking down of the walls that have traditionally compartmentalized disciplines, in an approach capable of using culture as a lever for economic development.

We believe in a new professional cross-media, able to design something that makes the outer layer deep and meaningful, whether they are pages of a book or touch screens. We believe in a new cross-disciplinary professional figure, who is able to mix manual type printing technique with programming and code. We believe in a new professional figure, able to make their way successfully in a world that has already changed. And that will change again.

We have hinted that the future of the visual designer will be a sort of pirate, able to intervene creatively reassembling disciplinary teachings to suit the needs of contemporary life. They’ll be multilingual pirates, able to develop any project with a two-fold reasoning : paper and screen, offline and online, analog and digital. The graphic designer of today’s (and tomorrow’s) world knows how to go deep into the knowledge of different disciplines, and at the same time knows how to move between them, going continuously back and forth.

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