In this day and age the quest for knowledge is a seemingly simple journey. We have evolved from past, ancient worlds where dusty, creaky encyclopaedias and finely crafted reference books offered up the knowledge of the universe (albeit slightly out of date). Today, we have acquired the skill that is simply known as, “Google it.”
There is no question that there are enormous benefits to having access to frequently updated, relevant information. But, as we become increasingly dependent on the digital world, we are losing the experiential benefits books offer us: tactility and immersion.
Inspiration by Design is an exhibition for book nerds, there’s no doubt about it. Given its housing at the State Library Victoria, this is not surprising. As designers, this exhibition reminds us of the value of a tangible product and the art of print. Despite our own dependence on the digital world, we still use books for ongoing inspiration and motivation. For more on this, you can refer back to this post to discover Luke’s penchant for all things library.
The British government established the School of Design in the 1850s due to rising concern about the inferiority of British design in the world market. The National Arts Library was at the centre of the School of Design, as such, it hosts a unique chronology of the evolution of design. The exhibition has travelled from London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and showcases the some of the National Art Library’s most exceptional acquirements over the past 150 years.
Inspiration by Design features original illustrations from Beatrix Potter, the L’Estampe et L’affiche poster by Pierre Bonnard, a rare Pablo Picasso artist book, and many other incredible books and posters. Technological advances are noted, such as the manufacture of printing plates directly from photographs. Changing the way we communicate, photographs became commonplace in magazines and newspapers: a new, universal visual language was born. Ideological changes are also noted. After the economic crash of 1929-30, the notion that commercial graphics could drive consumption brought about another era in graphic design. The exhibition has been carefully curated to educate us on the revolutions that shape the way we think about art and design today.
If you – like us – love books, design, and art, this exhibition is worth a look. Showing at the State Library of Victoria until 14 June 2015. Click here for more info.