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A new philosophical approach to design crafts

Philosophy and design are natural bed fellows, as Kimberly Lloyd is about to demonstrate.

After receiving her university diploma in Economics and Business Management at the University of Frankfurt, Kimberly opened her own consultancy and design office in 2001. Today she works both in Germany and the USA as founder of Lloyd and Associates, collaborating as a consultant and Creative Director. With a 2010 Graphite Pencil win for her work on Qompendium Print Publication under her belt, she knows what it takes to shine in the world of design. 

In 2016 Kimberly took things one step further and judged her heart out in the Crafts For Design category. Below she shares what she discovered. How does craft impact design in a technology focussed environment, and how do we maintain human connections through design? You're about to find out. 

Kimberly Lloyd Qompendium D&AD Judge 2016
Kimberly Lloyd — Qompendium

Nature to be commended, must be obeyed.

It is thrilling to be standing at the precipice of the 22nd Century, the century of the anno Domini, with all its remarkable technologies to probe.

We have trod new frontiers for some time now, perpetually pushing the envelope in all forms of technological evolution: from robust software and hardware developments, to innovative gadgetry – namely CGI, virtual reality headsets, hello holodeck and remote drones. Then, of course, there is the mp3 format that cannot go amiss, forever reconciling our visual perception of graphics and animations with sound. 

Qompendium Spread

The advent of the technological era, however, is best seen as a double-edged sword, as it can able and disable designers in the process.

Technology has been shifting the definition of crafts over the past few years. One of the most profound changes can be observed on a fundamental level with the democratization of desktop publishing (DTP) across new and independent platforms, such as blogs, social media and self-publishing entities.

Yet with all such tools at our disposal, it does not necessarily make us better designers. We are moving at breakneck speeds, with trends forming at an equal pace in directions yet to be defined. These trends, however, have limited life-cycles, and as designers, I believe our highest calling – no matter the discipline or era – is to create authentic and timeless concepts that are coherent within any environment.

Kimberly Lloyd Qompendium Spread

To do so, we must go back to the fundamentals.

To quote my favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, “The power to rearrange the combinations of natural elements is the only creative power man possesses. It is an enormous and glorious power—and it is the only meaning of the concept ‘creative.’”

Such a rhythm is what the entirety of existence has been predicated on for millennia and is a tried and tested approach. No matter the outcome, whether artistic, scientific, or technological, it is observed from man’s ability to rearrange reality, a genetic recombination of sorts, which potentiates crossovers to create singular, yet multicellular bodies of work.

Kimberly Lloyd Qompendium

Surveying such sentiments from the lens of our current age, a VR headset is still considered a replica of what man has observed in the real world. Google’s mind-boggling algorithms consist of codes written by a human being fed into a computer that then delivers a collage of artifacts that man views in a different composition, although the main elements remain the same. 

Kimberly Lloyd Qompendium

Francis Bacon once said that “nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.”

In this sense, command is dictated by a product’s ability to serve mankind, which can only be achieved when the natural elements are utilized accordingly.

Design when applied to any field – such as typography, illustration, photography and animation – can create impactful experiences when craft is rooted in the ability to reshuffle the nature, all while making use of modern adaptations that we have at our disposal. An integrated focus to craft will bring about meaningful and beautiful work that is true to the natural elements, as well as to the client and briefing.

Kimberly Lloyd Nasa Qompendium

Judging for the Crafts in Design section at the D&AD Professional Awards, I was positively impacted by how new technologies were utilized to both restore and preserve the history of mankind, all while seducing the younger generation to explore the future and reflect on the past. 

At the end of the day, crafts exist to connect with people from a heart-centered perspective. We as designers have the tools to create rich stories that will stand the test of time when we do so from a place of integrity and respect for the fundamentals.

So let’s get to doing.

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