‘The Analog Age Was A Kind Of Oppression’
Like a Vegas-sideburned Tom Wolfe, Karim Rashid is fond of wearing white outfits, updated, taut, sleek. And his mission is flamboyant liberation:
The digital age has shifted the mechanical age…a new non-serialized age…Total customization. You should be able to go online and pick out your car color from 106,000 colors…customize your shampoo, your jeans.
One of the most effective in a long lineup of some 120 speakers here at F+W Media’s five-day HOW Design Live conference, Rashid is a designer and interior architect who claims more than 3,000 designs in production, work in 40 countries, and, now, about 4,000 devoted new fans. They’re in his audience at the midpoint keynote of HOW’s busy program. Helmed for F+W chief David Nussbaum by vice-president and community leader Gary Lynch, the HOW vertical is one of the best arguments for the niche-interest construct of media-building exemplified by the F+W collection of companies. It includes Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest.
And nowhere can you find a better example of the way HOW is positioned to answer its fans’ needs than in the stylish Rashid’s 45-minute speech.
- Message: Creative people are intensely valuable, misunderstood, under-appreciated.
- Pitch: Analog is dead, long live digital, liberator of creative souls, our day has come.
These are heady concepts for a large crowd of mostly young adults whose outfits and generous, smiling natures mark them as “different.”
Many of these attendees are members of in-house corporate creative teams, frequently constrained by commercial limitations and charged with churning out the “collateral materials” that put across their companies’ messages. They come to HOW to learn, to stay connected with the wider industry, and to build motivation.
They’ve come to the right place.
Cairo-born, Canada-raised, US-based, Rashid is the essential stage-prowler. Whatever he may say about the “Age of Digital,” this is also the age of TED talks and Rashid knows how to work a room with that restless, roaming, rousing inspiration that keeps crowds watching.
“If you want a seat at the table in the boardroom,” he tells them, “you may just have to dress a little differently.”
And Hong Kong-based paper-specialist, designer Ken Lo, projects exquisite “red packet” designs he has created for the Chinese New Year gifting tradition, bombarding the appreciative crowd with images of double-embossed cards, boxes, wraps. He lets out with a wonderful, earthy laugh that dispenses with any idea that the guy might be holier than thou.
“They call me,” he sets it up, “the king of red packets!” And nobody is laughing harder than he is.
Rashid’s stage thus is very warm by the time he gets there, the house beautifully primed. The computer-driven spots — and maybe a bit of synthetic fog? — are sweeping the house in magenta anticipation. Thousands of smart, aesthetically driven “creatives” (there’s no escaping that noun-usage of the adjective here) are primed to hear him announce that their time has come, their path is clear, and the way forward is at hand. Analog is dead. Long live digital.
There’s more: Read the full story at Thought Catalog
By Porter Anderson
Writing on the Ether: At HOW Design Live In Chicago: Karim Rashid, Creative Empowerment, And ‘Digital Freedom’
Originally published by Thought Catalog at www.ThoughtCatalog.com