09.19.23
The Editors | Twenty Years of Design Observer

Community


Oronce FineĢ. Geocentric model. 1549. From Visualizing Spheres of Knowledge.

To be part of a design community, in 2003—back in the comparatively prehistoric age that preceded social media—meant participating in conversations with designers and scholars, students and business owners, technologists, educators, artists, and writers all over the world. Exchanges were spirited. Comments were dense. Disagreement was supercharged, and engagement (often) stratospheric. Controversy, at turns provocative and disquieting, was only mildly asynchronous (because sometimes we had to sleep) but then we were up and at it again, all of us: the writers and the editors, the readers and the pundits, the noobies and the naysayers, all of us collectively building this platform—and this community— founded on shared interests and a compassionate collegiality that endures to this day. Bonded by faith, united in democracy, alert to the dangers of unconscious bias and social (not to mention spatial) justice, ever-attentive to the wonders of masterful work (or to the horrors of design by committee), we delved into diagrams, denounced consumerism, debated resilience, deconstructed Scientology, and persevered through a pandemic that unmoored us from everything—yet, here we are. Maybe that’s the thing about community: if you build it, they will come. And if you’re lucky, they’ll stick around for the next twenty years.





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