Bits to Pieces is...

views on digital preservation

thoughts and views

tips and tricks

bits of others

Q&A Erik Adigard

Erik Adigard is a communication designer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His work ranges from branding, interaction design, immersive installations and video to consulting and design strategy. Better known projects include many visual essays for Wired magazine, websites for WiredDigital, the branding of IBM software, and large exhibits for La Villette, Paris, the Lisbon Biennale and the Venice Architecture Biennale. He also teaches, and serve on juries and advisory boards.  www.adigard.com and www.madxs.com

Absolutely Adigard
Erik Adigard. Absolut Adigard. 1996. Courtesy of Absolut Vodka.

Q&A Piet Schreuders

Piet Schreuders

Piet Schreuders (1951), graphic designer since 1975, editor-publisher of magazines De Poezenkrant and Furore, art director of VPRO Gids, researcher and writer. www.pietschreuders.com

Images courtesy Piet Schreuders. All rights reserved ©Piet Schreuders.


Q&A Max Kisman

As an analog graphic designer I first got interested in using computers when I saw a music video that used pixelation in its imagery. It was the early 80s and at the time I was graphic designer for Vinyl Music magazine. I used computer prints in an experimental "computer issue" (see elsewhere on this site). From then on I started to integrate digital technology in my graphic, typographic and illustrated work. Working with the Sinclair Spectrum 48K, the first editions of Apple Macintosh for print and Commodore Amiga 1000 for animation, I literally grew up (and in) with the technology in my field. It was applied in a.o. the '87 issue Red Cross Stamps of Dutch postal service, Language Technology/Electric word magazine, posters for Paradiso and Television graphics for Dutch VPRO Broadcasting networks. Later I got seriously involved in designing graphics for the first editions of websites like HotWired and VPRO digital. www.kismanstudio.nl

1986 Tekst&Beeld De Meervaart
Max Kisman and Bert Hendriks explain how they use the Apple MAcintosh at the 1986 Woord & Beeld event in the Meervaart, Amsterdam NL

Digital Death Day

While we pay most of our attention to preserving our valuable digital data luckily other smart people think beyond this and concern about our digital afterlife. Last Digital Death Day held on 20 May 2010 in London brought together the businesses of social networking, data management and.... death care. They identified three dimensions of digital death:


Forgotten and found. The 1984 Apple Macintosh pricing list.

In 1982 Vinyl music magazine was designed using rudimentary computer printouts for its typography. The Apple Macintosh wasn't available then. Vinyl's design was experimental, clumsy, but it contained the idea that magazines might as well be computer generated. See the article on Vinyl, magazine for modern music (still to be translated). Affordable computer technology was still quite remote for me.


Digital engravings for value paper

Between the antiquarian books and brochures at Nijhof and Lee earlier this year I did find the leaflet De zomerzegels en de computer (The summer stamps and the computer) from 1970. At that time, the summer stamps of 1970 fascinated me enormously one way, yet on the other hand I resisted their mechanical appearance.

De zomerzegels en de Computer, brochure PTT 1970

Picking up the pieces, California

In June 2010 we have been visiting and talking to a few main characters from the early days of digital graphic design in California, USA. We made interviews with MAD's Erik Adigard and Patricia McShane in Sausolito, and San Anselmo's visual artist John Hersey.

Over bewaren

In mijn gesprekken met grafisch ontwerpers gaat het opvallend vaak over archiveren en tegenwoordig vooral over 'digitaal bewaren'. Het valt me telkens op hoe verschillend er wordt gedacht over het nut en noodzaak van het duurzaam bewaren van digitale bestanden, maar ook hoe weinig informatie er voor 'niet-professionals' beschikbaar is. De meeste van mijn gesprekspartners beginnen uit te leggen dat ze vroeger braaf CD's en DVD's branden maar dat ze inmiddels beter weten en zijn overgestapt naar opslag op een extra harde schijf. Meestal geautomatiseerd.

 

De digitale vergetelheid

We leven in een digitaal tijdperk waarin een groot deel van de wereldbevolking werkt en communiceert met voortdurend nieuwere vormen van technologie. Informatie wordt uitgewisseld via e-mail, muziek bestaat alleen nog op MP3’tjes, vakantiefoto’s worden bewaard op internet en met de overheid communiceren we via een digitaal loket.

 

 

Vinyl, tijdschrift voor moderne muziek

1981. In de Volkskrant of Parool las ik over iemand die een coputerprogramma aan het ontwikkelen was om ‘normale’ lettertypes geschikt te maken voor een matrixprinter. Hij had daar al wat mee geëxperimenteerd op een Apple Lisa of Apple II en kon de letters op verschillende groottes uitprinten.

Q&A Erik Adigard
on Monday, 26 September 2011 02:55
Erik Adigard is a communication designer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His work ranges from branding, interaction design, immersive installations and video to consulting and design strategy. Better known projects include many visual essays for Wired magazine, websites for WiredDigital, the branding of IBM software, and large exhibits for La Villette, Paris, the Lisbon Biennale and the Venice Architecture Biennale. He also teaches, and serve on juries and advisory boards.  www.adigard.com and www.madxs.com

Absolutely Adigard
Erik Adigard. Absolut Adigard. 1996. Courtesy of Absolut Vodka.

Was there an urgency to organize your archives?
Archiving is a necessity because we are very often asked to refer to older works for exhibits or publications, but also because we often refer to previous research in our current projects.

Regardless, it is in the nature of designers to archive as much as they can: their research, communications, sketches and final designs. Archiving is crucial for designers because our work depends on managing vast amounts of information, therefore the cataloguing of our work is a natural extension of our approach to design processes.

What is the structure behind its organization?
It is 99%+ digital. Folders are named and structured in a way that allows us to keep an overview of the various phases and components (mails, contracts, sketches, purchased art, rejects, etc) and because all archiving is digital it can be filtered by dates, alphanumerical information, document sizes, etc.

When archived, project folders are filed by category: Print, Web, Art, Branding, Writings, etc

How do you keep track or how do you catalog the archives (print, computer)?
It is all digital at this point, but because my studio has remained fairly small for most of my career, I have been able to maintain a basic approach, evolving from floppy disks to cartridges and now hard drives and web servers. Even if we may own cataloguing software such as FileMaker we have not felt the need to use it.

When did you start using the computer?
1989

Booners spread Wired
Boomers spread for Wired magazine 2.12, 1994


From that moment on, did you change storing your work files differently? If so, why?
Yes, archiving methods must keep the pace with all other changes in media (types, sizes, networks, collaboration, etc) hence the shift from floppy disk to internet & intranet solutions. We use Time Machine but I also try to do selective back up and storing myself.

Do you regularly make back-ups?
Yes but we still lose files to back-up failures and to software obsolescence.

Microsoft campagain
Microsoft advertising campaign concept, 1996

Do you use a strategy of saving your work files. If so could you briefly describe it?
Within active projects, design and research files are generally archived as soon as they are no longer "active".
Project folders are routinely backed up, so that's a form of archiving there.
The project folders are color coded and go through three phases:
1. Active (in our computers and in an active back up drive)
2. On Hold (waiting for client approvals, etc)
3. Archived (or "To Be Archived")

Do you have specific questions about sustainable storage of your digital work files?
I assume it is all going off line? Including our desktops?

How long would it take you to locate a five year old digital work file? And how long would it take you to locate a physical document?
Using Search, it may take as little as 5 seconds. Perhaps 1mn when items are too buried.

Would you be able to use the digital file still?
From a 5 year old, 98% yes

What is of more importance to you, your physical, analog archive or your digital archive and why?
digital because I am primarily a digital designer. If I had to archive the analog way, I'd need a warehouse—which we have for our books and print samples but we are planning to give, sell or recycle 90% of it (more than a ton) to save on rent.


AIGA Icons
AIGA. Icontrol poster, 1998



 
#1 QuestionHaarani 2011-11-15 18:21
What are the purpose or meaning of the artworks you have created?
Quote | Report to administrator
#2 Purpose and MeaningErik Adigard 2011-12-16 00:36
Purpose and Meaning are interwoven in a chicken/egg relationship. With the work shown here it is all about reflecting "currency of meaning" as it appeared in the 90's, that is expressing the emergence of the digital culture. Therefore, my work was experimental and visually bold (today it is much more restrained and calculated) but as one can see the purpose/meaning was also in questioning the consequences of this digital "coup" that was being masterminded in Silicon Valley. Submitting to innovation and its bottom line, or silently witnessing the making of a genetic Mickey Mouse was easy while we were all dazzled by our new toys. And while markets were guzzling bits and bytes, social issues started to emerge, so today the early digital culture may be aged, but the ethical questions in these designs do remain more relevant than ever.
Quote | Report to administrator


Security code
Refresh