This blog discusses useful things that people make, but are so humble that they often go unnoticed. Are these designs? Absolutely. When designs are designed and made to serve specific purposes, it is not imperative that they draw attention to themselves in order to function. In fact it is often these designs that are quietly changing our lives. As my interest lies in information design, this blog is naturally about artefacts that people make for communicating to others.
The name of the blog was inspired by a book called Visible signs: an introduction to semiotics by David Crow. I read parts of it years ago, and the content was not particularly memorable; but I did like the title. I added ‘in’ and ‘de’ in parentheses before each word to introduce a little ambiguity. Although the job of a designer is still centred upon the making of tangible artefacts, (communication) design is far more than what meets the eyes. Much work is done behind the scenes, in the way of understanding users, contexts of use, the nature of the problem, constraints, as well as planning, analysis, conceptualisation, testing, etc. Design is also a word that can be used to refer to an act or a process, a set of specifications or a tangible artefact. And what finally gets produced is a ‘sign’ in semiotic terms.
Observations and thoughts are what this blog is about. English is the primary language, but do not be surprised if I occasionally publish in Chinese.
Keith Tam is a typographer, information designer, teacher and researcher living in Hong Kong. He is Principal Lecturer in Communication Design at the Hong Kong Design Institute.
info [at] keithtam [dot] net