A Design Archive For the Emerald Isle

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Ireland has no critical design magazines to speak of, don’t you know, so the new 100Archive project is a significant means to document and ultimately select the most significant graphic design produced in the country. The goal is to find new work and begin to archive the old. I met David Smith, one of the organizers of the project while at OFFSET 2013 in Dublin. He told me “Having initiated the project at the Dublin design conference OFFSET in 2012, the site was launched in Beta Mode at this years conference and we had a lively debate about the landscape of Irish Graphic Design on the second stage on Sunday afternoon so I think the initiative is timely.” Smith told the Irish design blog Pivot:

The concept of establishing an archive or public record of Irish graphic design is essentially the bi-product of numerous conversations I have had over the last five years with colleagues in both industry and in academia. The initial idea was a reaction to the lack of any coherent overview of current Irish design – this was primarily an academic concern in that I couldn’t direct students to a definitive source or reference to enhance their awareness of Irish graphic design. However the lack of any coherent or current record increasingly became a professional concern also.

Smith added to this up on the OFFSET blog (here).


Smith adds: “Our job here is to tell the ongoing story of Irish design. It’s not just about ‘best’, whatever the hell that means. It’s about potent, unexpected, new, bold, elegant, impressive, transformative, shocking, it’s about the role our work plays in the industries we’re commissioned by and ultimately in our shared society. Our role is really that of instigators, nudgers, curators, editors. It’s to do everything we can to get you to sign up and to generously enter work, to pull a community together and then try and make sense of where we’re at. We’re sure it’ll be a living, breathing, ongoing conversation, but the important thing is we’ve started the process and have a tool to help us capture it.”

The archive was launched at OFFSET 2013 just two weeks ago. At this point the curatorial panel are busy collating the first projects and designers that will feature in the Archive (100 Past). Since launching at OFFSET 150 users have signed up and Smith is already beginning to see unexpected and unfamiliar work by Irish designers make it onto the curated pages of the site (100 Future). To visit the site go here and watch the introductory video too.

For more Steven Heller, check out Citizen Designer: Perspectives on Design Responsibility, one of the many Heller titles available at MyDesignShop.com.