Designer makers/ Autoproduzione
The designer maker moment of today is comprised of young and vibrant designers who are discovering new frontiers and pushing new boundaries. These designer's have at their disposal a wealth of available knowledge, a surplus of potential creative influences and the latest innovations in technology. With little stopping them these designer makers are creating works that are intellectually astute and aesthetically surprising.
What does it mean to be a designer maker?
In today's climate being a designer maker is no simple task. With this title comes a lot of responsibility and expectations. The contemporary designer maker needs to be able to be experimental and original in order to create work that blurs the boundaries between the designer and the artisan.
To be a designer maker one needs to be able to both design and make their own products. In this way the designer maker uses their technical and manual skills and their creative and designer knowledge and brings these elements together in the form of a final design product. In this way, the designer maker not only needs to understand his/her materials and possess refined craft skills, they also need to be able to conceive of and interpret design ideas.
The designer maker needs to posses the ability to problem solve and communicate through a developed individual language. They need to be able to develop individual tracks and philosophies that react and contribute to contemporary life.
Who is the designer maker?
The designer maker are young makers who have a good grasp of the latest technologies and are combining these cutting edge technologies with knowledge and insights they have gained by looking back to pre-industrial craft production. These new young designers are running their own businesses, working at design consultancies, doing postgraduate research and holding exhibitions. They are individuals who are using their skilled craft and design talent to take control of their destinies.
The designer maker has become a “trendy” movement so much so that young designers have been scouted out and employed by unexpected companies such as Levis. The young designer maker Alice Saunders was discovered and taken on board by Levis clothing manufacturers. Though only 29 years of age this designer maker now sells her Forestbound brand one of a kind tote bags that she creates out of old military fabrics through Levis.
An exhibition entitled “The New Frontier: Young Designer-Makers in the Pacific Northwest” shows just how trendy the role of the designer maker has become among young designers. This exhibition displays the work of design teams such as “Free Time”, “Semigood” and “Something like this design”.
What knowledge is needed to be a designer maker?
Put simply to be a designer maker one needs to be able to produce an initial design and take responsibility for the actualization of this design in tangible form. To do this a designer maker must be an expert at their manual craft and have a wealth of knowledge related to design principles and styles. Even when a part of the production is handed to an artisan or an out-house production, the designer maker needs to have an excellent knowledge of the process and the material it self.
However, the designer maker not only needs to be a master crafts-person and designer, they also need to be able to be good at business. They need to have a working knowledge of business so that they are able to: focus on a niche; do their research; sell directly to customers and market themselves. They need to be able to see and also create the “big picture”.
Being a designer maker in today's current climate is complex and demanding. However, this area of creativity continues to gain popularity and trendiness among