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Visual Arts: Artist To Watch – Furry Little Peach

Furry Little Peach or Sha’an d’Anthes is an illustrator and visual artist based in Sydney, Australia.

The 24-year-old specialises in watercolour and ink, and her illustrations often feature animals. “I first began posting on Tumblr when I should have been preparing for the HSC,” d’Anthes told Creators. “I must have been 16 or 17 when I posted my first drawing online, and then discovered that the Internet was a great place to connect with both your audience and other creatives.”

 

d’Anthes often shares her work through Instagram and vlogs, where audiences can watch her working process in the studio.

Currently d’Anthes is selling artworks, enamel pins and sticker sets from her website. She is also participating in a project called “Fragments: Raising Fund for Syria”, where all proceeds from her new series of artworks will be donated to Care Australia for Syrian refugees.

Explainer: What is Experience Design?

Faye Miller, Queensland University of Technology

“It’s not just a _____, it’s an experience.” The Conversation

Substitute the blank space above with just about anything these days (car, meal, city, website, course, concert, charity, therapy), and you get the unofficial catch cry of the early 21st century.

Whatever you have to promote to the world – among the endless options in category X competing for attention – is not desirable without it being an “experience”.

But what exactly does that mean? And what does it mean for the two groups of people who potentially collaborate to provide it – the creative types and the business types?

Experience and design

Experiences are ultimately about human perceptions, memories and impressions. Psychologically speaking, how a person experiences an event or phenomenon is an emotional and rational response to an outside stimulus.

Once lived, an experience can be stored as a memory within a person’s mind – and we all know we like to keep pleasant memories that “stick” for the right reasons.

Design usually falls into the domain of the creative types; but “design thinking” is becoming an acceptable and popular practice for just about anyone. As Tim Brown, CEO of global design firm IDEO put it:

Design thinking is a human-centred approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.

That means anyone who wishes to innovate can design – that is, visualise, map, conceptualise, sketch – solutions based on gathering knowledge of how people behave in terms of technological use or non-use, and how this knowledge can advance the aims of an endeavour.

When we talk about designing experiences, it is important to first understand how certain types of people experience something in context, and then design or facilitate experiences that make a positive difference for people.

Exponomy

In the US and Europe, the so-called “experience economy” (also known as exponomy) is on the rise as a potentially transformative concept for businesses, consumers and society in general. The idea can be traced back to 1998, when B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore of Harvard Business School introduced a new way of thinking about commodities not just being about goods and services.

Commodities were, the pair argued, more about human experiences that are highly memorable and emotionally engaging enough to sustain long-term value and relationships. Such experiences were powerful enough to change the ways in which people lived and behaved. In short, Pine and Gilmore believed people were willing to pay more for the commodity with the X-Factor.

This suggests companies need to pay much closer attention to the design of experiences co-created by their customers. Businesses need to provideopportunities for customers to participate in experience design through user research. Similarly, a collective mindset needs to be cultivated that allows businesses to realise the interrelatedness of different companies and industries.

This would help them design for experiences that are collaborative across different sectors. For example, a major fashion event would collaborate with the entertainment, media and tourism/hospitality industries to provide an audience with a lasting impression through a multi-sensory experience that is both enjoyable and prosperous.

In recent years, “experience” related positions such as User Experience (UX) Designer/Researcher and Chief Experience Officer (CXO) have increasingly become more visible in organisations of all types.

While some creative positions have a narrow focus on designing digital experiences for website users, others at the senior executive level, such as CXO, aim to plan and maintain a more holistic user-business-technology experience, including “blended” experiences online and offline.

Some experience designers work as freelance consultants, either independently or as part of a design firm, for clients in a range of sectors.

Experience design globally and in Australia

In practice, experience design has grown to include the personalisation of experiences through better understanding of different types of human beings combined with unique, innovative ideas developed by company leaders. Perhaps the most well known example of a globally influential and transformative experience-based commodity is Apple.

Apple changed the way people experienced technology with simple interfaces, interactive gestures and memorable branding permeating the products through to their digital and in-store service. This design was a combination of user needs and behaviour which Apple designers perceived and their own creativity, as Steve Jobs himself put it:

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesise new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.

A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.

While the tech industry in the US seems to have embraced the experience economy (with US-based innovation firm frog this year declaring its “coming of age”), the concept has impacted upon many types of businesses and sectors across the globe.

Australian businesses are now starting to acknowledge the emergence of the experience economy with sectors such as (but not limited to) arts and entertainment, tourism, and higher education re-thinking their roles as key players.

Recently, the Australian independent music industry was explored conceptually for the first time using an experience-economy lens, acknowledging the complex relationships and interactions between music business entrepreneurs, musicians, music fans, and the digital and live music experiences.

While these elements usually work in isolation, the exponomy (and experience designers/CXOs who implement the concept) are able to unite them on common ground. Furthermore, exponomy highlights the fusing of industries towards increasing value for all stakeholders involved in a given venture.

A good example of this is the recent collaboration between Australian musicians and wine tourism campaigns, featuring a Nick Cave classic soundtrack for the Be Consumed at Barossa Valley cinematic multi-sensory advert (see above).

The ad won international acclaim as best tourism ad at Cannes and has succeeded in its goal of attracting more tourists to visit Barossa Valley as a result. This shows that real-life experiences can begin with audio-visual tempters designed to engage imaginations on a personal level.

In the same way, higher education in Australia as a major service provider is currently reframing its understanding of how to design for diverse experiences for students, teachers, researchers and research users.

Designing experiences that acknowledge, enthuse, inspire and potentially positively transform the whole person – not just the customer, employee, student or statistic – appear vital to sustaining long-term partnerships.

 

Faye Miller, PhD Candidate, Information Systems, Queensland University of Technology

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Digital: Best Platforms for Website

These days, everyone can build a website – but not all platforms are made equal. Web platforms vary in their templates, features, functionality, ease of use and cost – thus, each comes with its own pros and cons. Here are Studio 22’s version of best web platforms on the Net, and the pros and cons of using them:

Squarespace

Established in 2004, Squarespace arguably has the most beautiful templates in the Internet, with understated elegance and emphasis on visual/imagery content. Squarespace also allows you to customise the template – and the more adept you are in coding, the more you can alter the template to your liking. Squarespace is suitable for people in creative professions, such as designers, photographers, event organizers, bloggers and more. But there’s a catch: it’s more expensive compared with other platforms, with prices starting at US$12 per month. New users can get a 14-day free trial.

 

WordPress

As one of the most popular platform on the net, WordPress offers an extensive range of free and premium templates. WordPress is also simple and easy to use, even for beginners. The cost to use is generally pretty low, too. However, because a lot of people are using the platform, your website may end up looking generic. Customising the template can also be quite difficult if you have minimum coding experience.

 

Wix

With hundreds of templates for all kinds of industries, Wix provides a lot of advantages for users – such as easy-to-customise templates, user-friendly interface, options for additional Apps/plugins, and affordable prices. Furthermore, no coding knowledge is needed, as users can just click and drag to change the website’s look. However, if you require custom domain, you can’t get it from outside sources – getting premium membership at Wix is the only option available. You also need to back up your content before changing your template, which is impractical.

 

You can also explore other web platforms such as Weebly, Tumblr, Blogger and more.

Event/Exhibition: TEDxSydney 2017

If TED Talks is part of your daily inspiration, you should not miss this event.

TEDxSydney 2017 promises a day of talks, music, films and debate, featuring speakers from a wide range of disciplines such as technology, science, design, education, business, art, health, law, politics, entertainment, and more. With the move to a new, bigger venue at the International Convention Centre Sydney, the event is expected to welcome a record number of attendees.

Attendees will receive special TEDxSydney tote bag as well as morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. Tickets start at $175. Attendees must be members of TEDxSydney community. For more information, visit TEDxSydney website.

Friday, June 16, 9am-6pm | International Convention Centre Sydney – ICC Sydney, 14 Darling Drive, Sydney

What Workspaces Are the Best for Freelance Workers?

Agustin Chevez, Swinburne University of Technology

People who work in the gig economy can work from everywhere. But not all places are compatible with the contingent nature of their work, recommended health and safety guidelines or fulfil their needs when it comes to the social nature of work.

Temporary self-employment is not new, but online platforms like Upwork and Freelancer are enabling an estimated 55 million freelancers in the United States (35% of their workforce) to connect with those that require their skills. A 2014 study estimates 3.7 million (30% of workers) contribute A$51 billion to the Australian economy each year.

The sheer amount of freelancers and their significant contribution to the economy, make it important to consider what makes a good place for gig workers to do their gigs. While workspaces used by freelancers might have similar components (for example chairs and desks) as those used by full-time employees, historical differences make freelancers’ workplaces different from the office.

It’s important to remember that the office is an invention. Contemporary corporate workplaces are the result of conditions that have not only given us the office building, but shaped civilisations.

For example in the US, the office evolved from a variety of circumstances including increased trade produced by the railroad. People could no longer do their business in their heads and businesses progressively needed more space for managers.

Further management inventions, such as hierarchy and bureaucracy, shaped organisational structures. Other developments like a reduction of the cost of steel and the invention of the elevator shaped the physical structure of tall buildings in prime locations in New York City and Chicago.

In Australia, one of the first multinational corporations, the East India Company, contributed to the development of the early office building. In the early 1800s, the first Postal Act of 1825 enablied the New South Wales governor to fix postage rates and appoint postmasters outside of Sydney. This led to some of the first offices of Australia Post.

The technological, economic and social circumstances fostering freelancing are in many ways different, if not at odds, with the context that created the office. However work is a social activity and professional isolation can negatively impact job performance and create adverse psychological conditions.

Another popular option for gig workers is the coffee shop. These have provided a social outlet and have hosted activities similar to today’s work activities –reading, writing and exchange of information – since the 17th century. However, these places are not sites for gainful or productive work.

If not a traditional office or coffee shop, then what?

Coworking spaces are shared workplaces utilised by professionals, mostly freelancers, who miss the interactions (and amenities) of the office but do not want to commit to long and complicated lease terms. These spaces allow freelancers to rent space in a casual fashion and in short terms, even by the hour.

Coworking also allow freelancers to work among others, even if not with them, in other words to “work alone together”. What started in 2005 in San Francisco by a software developer who wanted “the freedom and independence of working for myself along with the structure and community of working with others”, is now a multi-billion dollar industry.

Some spaces cater to specific professions, from fashion designers and writers to lawyers. Other spaces play host to every profession under the sun.

Some coworking offerings are based on the access economy, taking advantage of underutilised resources and making them accessible. For example, Spacious is looking into the more than 2,000 restaurants which are closed before 6pm in New York and aiming to open them for coworking during business hours.

Hoffice, an emerging model from Sweden, invites people to work from a more common “during-the-day underused resource: our homes”. In Australia, a bank is opening its lobby for clients to cowork.

Which codes or health and safety requirements apply when a restaurant, or home, is also being used as a workplace? As legislation evolves to protect the right of freelancers, design must strive to provide them with safe and good working environments.

Several studies from social and physical sciences on topics as varied as the influence of ceiling heights in creativity or the effects of smelling peppermint in typewriting speed and accuracy, suggest that qualities of the environment can affect work. Quantitative and qualitative studies also highlight the role of physical proximity between people in supporting interactions and transferring knowledge.

Even experiments with divers suggest that information is better recalled in the same environment that it was learnt (surface or under the sea). Working from a constant, purposely designed space to work with or among others might not only help to provide the necessary contextual cues to remind freelancers what they need to do, but the environment to do it better.

As the gig economy evolves, distinct places for gig workers are likely to change the skyline created by the railroad and busy managers. The advantages of freelancing such as casual and portable work should not come at the expense of a precarious work life without access to ergonomic, social and purposely designed spaces that take into consideration the uncertain nature of their work.


Kyla Lodewijk, Provisional Psychologist and Allied Health Consultant, also contributed to this article.

Agustin Chevez, Adjunct Research Fellow, Centre For Design Innovation, Swinburne University of Technology

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Event/Exhibition: Trust and Truth in the Digital Age

What is “fake news”, and how can one tell them from valid information on the Internet? That’s what this panel discussion event is trying to explore.

“Trust and truth in the digital age: The challenges facing news organisation” is a free public lecture presented by the ABC News, University of Technology Sydney and First Draft.

This discussion will be hosted by Walkley Award-winning journalist Paul Barclay, and feature a welcome address from UTS journalism practice professor, Peter Fray. The panel speakers include Malachy Browne, senior producer at the New York Times; Kim Bui, former deputy managing editor at reported.ly and adjunct professor at the University of Southern California; Andy Carvin, former editor in chief at reported.ly; and Claire Wardle, research director at First Draft and Tow Center for Digital Journalism.

Tickets are free. For more information and registration, visit the event’s Eventbrite page.

March 21, 6-7.30pm | Great Hall, University of Technology Sydney, 15 Broadway, Ultimo

Digital: What is SEO, and Why is It Important?

You may have heard the term, but do you actually know what SEO is? Why is everyone using SEO, and what can it do to your website? Here is a simple explanation of what SEO is and how it works.

What is SEO?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, can be understood as a technique to ensure that a website can appear / be found in search engines organically (non-paid) using relevant key words and phrases. This way, when people search the relevant terms online, they can find your website without any hassle, improving visibility and the chance of increased visitors and web traffic.

For example, if you have a graphic design business based in Sydney, you can optimise your website by ensuring they use search engine-friendly lines that customers would search for, such as “graphic design agency Sydney” etc.

How does SEO work?

Before understanding how SEO improves website’s visibility, it is important to understand how search engines work: Search engine crawls or scans over your website from page to page, indexes the words and phrases to assign them to particular key words, and then calculates the relevancy of each page.

This is where SEO comes in. SEO works by incorporating search engine-friendly textual elements into the website. This means including key words into the website elements, such as URLs and meta tags, as well as in the on-page content, such as articles and blog posts.

Tips

It is important to remember that this does not necessarily mean stuffing key words everywhere, but rather using them meaningfully in quality content. People may come for the key words, but they stay for the content.

Also, make sure that the search queries you are using are pertinent – that is, your target customers actually use these terms to search for your products and services. Research your customers’ habits and needs before you start picking key words.

You can start learning SEO with the thousands of resources available on the Internet, or hire an SEO service for long-term campaigns and other in-depth projects.

Event/Exhibition: It’s Pronounced “GIF,” Not “GIF”

Do you think meme is a form of art? If the answer is yes, this might be the exhibition you’ve been looking for.

It’s Pronounced “GIF,” Not “GIF” is an art exhibition curated by Con Gerakaris, which seeks to explore Internet art and its commodification in a capitalist world. Drawing upon digital artworks commonly found in Instagram feeds and Tumblr dashboards, the exhibition promises a subversion of Western art canon through the lens of “perverted capitalism”.

Featured artists include:

  • A-nrd (London, UK)
  • Michelle Cho (Los Angeles, USA)
  • Simon Falk (Toronto, CAN)
  • John Karel (Philadelphia, USA)
  • Danielle Karlikoff (Sydney, AUS)
  • Nicholas Keays (Melbourne, AUS)
  • James Jirat Patradoon (Sydney, AUS)
  • Saulonzo (Anioch, USA)

For more information, visit the exhibition’s Facebook page.

Wednesday, March 1, 6pm | Goodspace Gallery, 115 Regent Street, Chippendale

News: Netflix Releases New Documentary ‘Abstract: The Art of Design’

Netflix has finally entered the design world with its new series, ‘Abstract: The Art of Design’.

The documentary focuses on the lives, crafts and perspectives of the best creative workers in their respective fields, such as architecture, apparel, graphic design, and photography. With imaginative visual, the series dissects the thinking and working process of these creators in unconventional ways.

The featured creators, who each gets an episode, are illustrator Christoph Niemann, footwear designer Tinker Hatfield, stage designer Es Devlin, architect Bjarke Ingels, automotive designer Ralph Gilles, graphic designer Paula Scher, photographer Platon, and interior designer Ilse Crawford.

‘Abstract: The Art of Design’ was launched as a part of the Docuseries Showcase at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and is available via streaming now.

Event/Exhibition: Data Girls Workshop

Take part in improving women’s representation in STEM by joining this workshop.

Data Girls, presented by Keboola’s DataDriven, is a workshop that offers an introduction to data analytics and business intelligence exclusive to women. The program aims to provide an overview of data analytics infrastructure and best practices through a hands on case study, where participants will get to build their own analytics solution on real data with real business problems.

The workshops will be held in Sydney and Melbourne. No prerequisite knowledge needed – just bring your own laptop and charger. Lunch and refreshments provided.

For more information and registrations, visit DataDriven’s website.

Tuesday, February 28, 9am-6pm | TAL offices, 363 George St, Sydney

Thursday, March 2, 9am-6pm | Melbourne