Digital Technology’s Impact on Design and Design Thinking

A three-part Question and Answer blog featuring:
Yen Chu R.G.D., Creative Director, Parcel Design Inc.
Brad Green, Creative Director, Interbrand
Paddy Harrington R.G.D., Executive Creative Director, Bruce Mau Design

To what extent is the convergence of media a reality for you and how does it affect the way you work?

Yen Chu R.G.D.
“The changes are huge and affect much of what we are doing today. What is challenging is finding ways to articulate ideas differently. The way we tell stories today has to be different for digital formats. I feel at times that we are still in the Wild West, in the sense that we have to figure out the best ways to tell our stories in each new medium.

There is still a large visual component to storytelling and we are still struggling with how to do that best with new media and technology. A whole new visual language is emerging. The craftsmanship tied to executing has to be reinvented because of the way we interact with digital information and visuals and video. It’s no longer simply a print context. Now, you are in front of a flat screen and that requires new ways of engaging people in a stimulating manner.”

Brad Green
“It’s an absolute reality. You can’t think in ‘channels’ or in a linear fashion anymore – you’ve got to think in terms of ideas that can be brought to life across various touch points. An idea needs to be strong enough to work within any medium to which it may be applied, but also strong enough to leverage the ability of new media to create deeper and more meaningful connections and increase engagement. That is the challenge.

Design has become an essential communication tool to all media – it’s hard to imagine new technology like your iPhone without design. Almost all disciplines of communication and new media now have a stronger , more thought-through design.

Brands are now also able to use the power of new media to increase engagement. Interactivity, personalization, sounds, action and many other components enable brands to inform, entertain and build new communities very fast and in real time – something we traditionally could not do. We can really bring a brand to life today in unprecedented new ways.”

Paddy Harrington R.G.D.
“We’ve always worked across a variety of media. If anything, what has happened is that as things have become more technologically diverse, we have needed to be more refined in how we talk about ourselves. With the expanding realm of possibilities, people often don’t know what to do or where to even start. What we are saying is: It’s all about the story – what is your purpose, what are your objectives? Once you have that, it then becomes a matter of finding the appropriate technological solutions to back up or deliver the story you want to tell.”


About rgddesignthinkers

The Association of Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario (RGD) is the professional body for graphic designers in Ontario. RGD grants graphic designers who qualify the right to use the designations Registered Graphic Designer and R.G.D., a quality signal of standards of professional practice. RGD has approximately 2800 members. Attracting over 1,000 participants and a full line-up of fascinating speakers, DesignThinkers is Canada’s largest, most important graphic design event. It’s an occasion to listen, learn and interact with peers from across the country.
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