We are accustomed to asserting our presence. Filling up a world we thought was ours alone.
But design is also the ability to work on absence. Of value, dignity, land.
It is also a political tool, an opportunity for cultural protest, to remind us of what we are forgetting, going beyond language and narrating what should be remembered by means of subtraction.
The project is also a new thought of cohesion, protections, awareness of value.
Credits: Poster for cohesion of Mediterranean culture, 2009
Today the very high concentration of similar identities and comparable technologies threatens the design industry with uniformity, just as happens in agriculture, where the concentration on a few crops can deplete the soil and endanger all future production.
So we all have to learn to work on differences.
To adapt to these increasingly unpredictable changes, we have to design stories of truly unique positioning, to construct territories of the imagination increasingly based on biodiversity of business.
Reparability is not taught in schools; we have to invent it for ourselves, in a world that no longer calls for its presence.
Repairing means paying attention to duration, inventing unexpected aesthetics, doing without excess.
In a world where almost everything could be fixed rather easily and very poetically as well, in many cases, we should help companies to think about what will happen tomorrow, about long-term strategies, the possibility of appealing to people still unknown, who live in unknown places were objects are respected and loved.
It would be nice if – in a little while – we could learn about repairing things in school.
Clouds are a great source of inspiration for corporate identity projects: more than anything else, they constantly adapt to change.
You have to try to understand, in a split second, what form they have right now, what they were like just a moment ago, what they might look like in a minute…
Like companies, no two are exactly alike.
Like companies, they don’t know exactly where they are going.
Like companies, at times they gain force and want to overwhelm the space of the sky, at other times they vanish, only to reappear, up ahead…
Credits: Mario Trimarchi, 2012
Italy is a country where things get made well thanks to the simple taste for doing so. It is a country that is used to performing at its best only at the last minute, with unexpected inventions, dodging in unexpected, always surprising directions, where lagging behind becomes an advantage.
Designing for Italy means having the courage to propose cultural alternatives to the growth model of the big corporations of the advanced industrial societies.
Designing for Italy means working side by side with companies that advance through distinction, not through standardization, inventing creative experiments, applying the long-term reasoning of the family, not the short-term perspective of the stock market.
Credits: Logo for 150° Anniversary of Italian Republic, 2011
Bread offers an apt metaphor to explain what design should be.
It’s a basic alphabet: it is democratic, and everyone should be able to afford it.
It is the icon of the everyday, but it is never exactly the same: there are all kinds of bread for all tastes, and everybody has a personal preference.
It is connected with cultures: every place, every people, every country has its own. It is a matter of time.
Making good bread takes effort, and experience brings greater skill.
Every morning, you have to start all over again.
Which is exactly like design.
Credits: Poster of social protest against food waste, 2010
Feeling fragile is not a shortcoming. It’s a challenge. Fragility reminds us that we have to take care of the things around us, even in the case of a big, strong tree that has always been there, because tomorrow it could be menaced by drought or illness.
So it is up to us to take care: to water and prune, to apply mulch to caress its leaves.
Companies need the same kind of care: designing corporate identity, it is necessary to lucidly think about the future, about the small steps that can become big leaps forward after a while, about the stubbornness of doing things right on an everyday basis, being prepared for any possible change.
Fragility is one of the best ways to survive.