State Of Archives A Research Compendium On Design Archives
State Of Archives A Research Compendium
Chee Yang Han Singapore
7 – 11
Case Studies A.
Herb Lubalin Study Center
19 – 23
Vignelli Center for Design Studies
West Michigan Graphic Design Archives
31 – 33
M+ Pavilion West Kowloon
34 – 37
Malaysia Design Archives
38 – 40
41 – 43
44 – 45
Foreword The research is aimed to understand more about design archives. An archive is a source of information, and a platform for knowledge construction. This form of progress can be apparent in the field of design; where one can better appreciate the visual culture and identity against the backdrop of time and context. By studying the trend of projects, it provides a good sense of the pertinence in the educational curriculum and methodology, which then allows one to draw comparison with other models to improve and reflect. Projects are given more gravitas, and an accessible archive also cultivates a culture of critical-thinking and peer-learning. More archives would also mean a wider coverage of the creative community; not all that did not make it into popular culture is ‘bad’, and there is a lesson behind them as well. The point of this Compendium is to study the role of archives through literature, perspectives from local creatives and case studies of existing archives. It hopes to provide an objective insight to the current state of infrastructure, and to question its efficacy. It is written for fellow budding creatives to appreciate and see the importance of a more robust archival infrastructure in our nation state, and the degree to which our practice can be influenced by such repositories.
The criteria for the selection of case studies will The selected archives will also be analysed based be based on the following points. It is to ensure on four points as case studies. It is important to that there is some form of consistency between note that the framework for analysis is not to them, yet some allowance for differences in or- measure the success of an archive, but rather der to analyse them objectively.
to understand how design-related archives are shaped by certain factors, and how that makes
1. Public Archives
them different from one another. The analysis
The selection of archives for this Compendium aims to provide specific categories to allow one to will be archives which allow public access, as draw comparisons. these archives generally will have a wider outreach, accessibility and inclusivity.
1. Purpose Of The Archive It is in interest to look at the background of the ar-
2. Design-Related Archives
chive as it reveals the intent of their acquisition.
As there are different types of archives, we will The purpose will set the tone of an archive. be specifically looking at design archives, where it holds the physical design-related artefacts, or
2. Archivist As An Influence
digital collections. These archives will have to be The role of archivists directly influence the core known for preserving their visual culture.
of an archive. By understanding more about their backgrounds, visioning for the archives, and their process, it will help to appreciate the construct of an archive.
3. Infrastructure The amount and range of collection in an archive could also suggest a few things, such as the support it receives, and maybe even the nation’s stance on preserving its visual identity and culture. Studying the range also encompasses the digital archives, which shows how the archive has adapted to future needs.
4. Outreach We will also be understanding how the public has benefited from an archives’ infrastructure. The archive will be analysed by the extent to which it has reached the public audience.
Repositories like archives hold much influence and potential over shaping a society’s culture and collective thinking. This section strives to surface some thinkings from writers and researchers whose research interests lie in archives.
Appreciating Intangible Value Archiving is a form of knowledge transmission. It happens over time. It allows one to better appreciate the reason behind a design. However, it needs to be set against a backdrop of context for one to better appreciate the thought-process behind a design. If we isolate a design from it’s context, we are merely just analysing its iconography. An archive is also necessary in preserving the accuracy of a design intent. What may mean created to convey a message may be lost in transmission when it gets passed down time after time, without any credible information. When there is a gap in understanding the design process, people might not be able to fully appreciate the driving factors behind a design.
Sharing A Visual Language Design is a method of communication, a language which is largely visual. In linguistics, there are phrases which are capable of encapsulating collective memories through language, because of shared experiences. These catchphrases allow for details to be dropped, so communication can be done quickly and efficiently. Likewise in design, where the equivalent to catchphrases is the interpretation of signs and symbols, it allows for quick communication of ideas through visuals means.
Sticker with the symbols used in German politics. The symbols embody the spirit and identity of the political groups over time. “Fight Against Fascism! The Symbols Change But The Spirit Remains The Same”. Antifa Jugendfront, 1991.
A comic suggesting that benefits from education is obstructed by an entity. “Forbidden Territory”. Bernard Kassoy, 1953. Artstor.
Through The Lens Of Education Marcus C. Robyns is a Professor and University Archivist at the Northern Michigan University. He is an educator, and taught history and critical thinking, and have also written numerous publications about archiving. He discusses the possibilities in which archives can be incorporated into educational curriculum. He posits that an archive plays an important role in instilling critical-thinking and research-driven skills in students. An archive is able to groom independent learners through specific lessons structures which encourage students to reconstruct past narratives by comparing and making connections from various sources. The focus for the students is to hone their ability to navigate through information, interpret the gathered information, and to be critical about what they read.
Knowing What Could Have Worked, And What Doesn’t David Cabianca discusses his thoughts about how graphic design is dependent on the notion of knowledge generation. For any form of generation to happen, there is an element of time. This gradual building of knowledge helps designers to learn from past designs. In order to appreciate how designs were successful or not, one must look beyond the iconography, and understand the cultural context. Graphic design does not have autonomy. It is influenced by socio-political factors, and has an agenda. When we take into account cultural shifts, we gain knowledge about what worked in the past, and wisdom to how it might not today.
A depiction of the fall of the Roman Empire, resulting in the Dark Ages – the regression of civilisation due to lost knowledge. “The Course Of Empire: Destruction.” Thomas Cole, 1836. Medium.
As we seek to deepen our understanding about the current state of archival infrastructure, it is then natural for us to be looking at the thoughts revolving our own archives. We look towards the interviews between local creatives and archivists to find out more about some of our archival thinkings.
A Platform For Creative Discourse The start of Singapore Graphic Archives began with Justin Zhuang’s research on Singapore’s design history. He wanted to provide a platform for public reach to foster higher awareness, and to inspire creative projects. The archive changed its name from ‘visual’ to ‘graphic’, because the archive is interested in the construction and process behind a design. When asked about design in Singapore, mentions that there is no singular definition of ‘Singaporean design’, just like how much of MUJI is ‘Japanese design’ He also mentions that we need to appreciate the design with the context as the backdrop. Zhuang views ‘Singapore design’ as a creative discourse and conversation. Looking beyond the signs and symbols and understanding what is the driving factor behind it allows one to appreciate better the history and context. It gives a design its cultural meaning and values, and also allow us to appreciate the designer’s creative influence. He also acknowledges that understanding history is a way of understanding the present. Archiving the arts is important so that we understand better our past. However, one challenge is the lack of facilities to preserve archived objects. As it is an independent project, fundings and space is an issue.
Justin Zhuang, a local design writer and researcher. Founder of Singapore Graphic Archives, a local independent archive. Photo Courtesy, ObjectLessonsSpace.
Singapore Art Archives Project: Is there a Future? There was a period of time where Singapore’s was more invested in economical developments, and that might have spared lesser attention towards the arts. As an independent archivist, Koh helped to fill in these gaps in history by archiving what he is physically able to. Amassing a huge amount of archival materials, he has shared that he is running short on space to properly store and preserve them. It has eaten into his personal living space, and he has to pay with his own money for few other commercial storages. Also, as Singapore Art Archives Project (SAAP) is a one-man show, he doesn’t know what will be the future of his collection.
Archivist Koh Nguang How, the founder of Singapore Art Archives Project, a local independent archive. Photo Courtesy, Esplanade.
Understanding Past Visual Culture Zhuang also mentioned that the National Library Board has a huge collection of archival materials, however, they are mostly not through the lens of art and design. Through understanding Singapore’s design history, we will be able to understand the visual culture. There is also a value of knowledge transmission when looking at designs from the past. It adds to the value of today’s works because those are the shaped from the past influences. It gives the work of today’s designers some gravitas.
A Fresh Canvas? Alex Mucha, one of the four founders of Equus, gave a different perspective to the case of the local archive scene. He mentioned that in a multi-cultural country, there is much boundaries to be observed to prevent too much of one’s culture to be influenced. Spencer Ball, the Creative Director of Anthem Worldwide, opined that there is no need to worry about the past to search for an identity because “no one from the outside would be concerned”. For PHUNK, Singapore’s lack of visual history and culture allowed budding designers to create their own language. They added that because of this freedom, designers can decide what is best for them; to globalise their practice or promote national identity.
Koh Nguang How during the State Of Motion Q&A session. Photo taken on 18 January 2020.
Objective Or Subjective Archiving? During a seminar talk by Koh Nguang How, he shared that there is a process of selection to photograph an event. There’s also a physical limitation of being able to be present in every event. Also if news of those events are not promulgated or advertised well, there is a chance that those will be forgotten, and will those event even exist?
Next, we will be also looking at examples in which archives have been used as a research platform. By studying in detail their implementation of the archive, we seek to understand their archival thinking, and hopefully, allow us to reflect on our own.
Study Center 19
An Intent to Educate The Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography is one of the first graphic design archives in the United States. It is founded in 1985 by The Cooper Union, friends and family of Herb Lubalin to commemorate his design legacy. The archive also houses the works of various designers. It serves primarily as a space for design-related seminars, lectures and exhibitions. The Cooper Union’s mission is to exist as a free center of creative learning and discourse, and the archive strives to embody that spirit. The archive is curated by Alexander Tochilovsky. Amongst his other jobs, he is also a graphic designer and an educator. The naming of the platform as a ‘study center’, location at Cooper Union, and the presentation of the works, shows that it strives to provide communities with and opportunity to interact and learn from the exhibits through tours. Part of a collection in the Herb Lubalin Study Center, showing how the works are presented for user interaction. “New York’s Hidden Graphic Design Gem”. Photo Courtesy, Rob Hewitt, 2016
A digital extension of the Study Center. While the Center’s collection covers the breadth, the online periodical provides the depth. Screenshot from N11 — LUBALIN’S LOGOTYPES, Flat File.
Accessible Lecture Series The Study Center is also involved in the Herb Lubalin Lecture Series, where they actively do free and accessible lectures for the public and students about design and typography.. The students will be able to benefit more from the lectures as they are aligned with the curriculum.
Role As A Curator As a Secretary Of Design, Tochilovsky’s first executive order was to have more archives. He personally believes that it was important to do things for the future by preserving the past, making sure that it doesn’t disappear at an increasing pace.
A Lesson Behind Every Artefact Tochilovsky gave an example of the New York subway map designed by Massimo Vignelli. He said that it was both brilliant because of it’s clarity to users, and flawed because of the geographic distortion, but that is the reason why it is appreciated; for it’s value that other designers can learn from.
The Subway Map, where Alexander Tochilovsky shared how it is brilliant and flawed at the same time. “The Subway Map”. Massimo Vignelli, 1972.
Alexander Tochilovsky, current curator of The Herb Lubalin Study Center. Photo Courtesy, The Type Directors Club.
Mike Essl, the ex-curator of The Herb Lubalin Study Center. Photo Courtesy, Leo Sorel.
A Future-Proof Archive Mike Essl, an ex-curator of Study Center, acknowledged that most designers work largely on screen, and that it is a challenge in today’s age to archive digital work due to the need to archive the device that the works were done for. He quoted an example where the browser version of the work will need to be archived as well. However, there is no set acquisition policy, nor budget to do so yet. He also added that although the Center’s is looking ahead, their current focus is on print work. The interview also revealed that the soliciting for works are also done occasionally because of space constraints.
Criteria For Inclusion When asked if the Center has a method for acquiring works to add to the archives, Essl mentioned that there wasn’t a specific one. The archive is grows more adaptive in nature.
Student Involvement The Center also involves students with the Rhoda Lubalin Fellowship Project. It is started in 1987 by Rhoda Lubalin, wife of Herb Lubalin. It is an annual award for a selected Cooper Union School of Art graphic design student. It is a research-based project that uses the works in the archives as an entry point. Students will be granted a small grant, and will be able to collaborate with the Curator and Archive Coordinator to execute a meaningful project which contributes to the Study Center.
Tenet Of An Archive: Design To Be Experienced Two of the many graduates who received the stipend from the Rhoda Lubalin Fellowship is Michael Prisco and Helen Sywalski. In 2016, they worked closely with the Study Center on a typography project called “Type High: Experiments in Dimensional Design and Typography”. It is a project which explores the two-dimensional typefaces into three-dimensional forms. The Center provided them with an entry point to understand the ephemera in an entirely new way.
Typography artforms which shows how student have benefited archive-launched school projects like The Rhoda Lubalin Fellowship. “Type High: Experiments in Dimensional Design and Typography”. Photo Courtesy, Michael Prisco and Helen Sywalski, 2016.
Design Studies 24
Massimo and Lella Vignelli at their residence. They donated bulk of their works to throughout their lives to the Rochester Institute of Technology to allow students to learn from primary sources. Photo Courtesy, Fred R. Conrad, 2016.
Center Goals The Vignelli Center For Design Studies is located in New York, and commissioned in 2010, when Massimo and Lella Vignelli donated their works to the Rochester Institute of Technology. The center’s vision is to allow design practitioners to use their resource as a starting point for their research. The center also strives to encourage conversations in design discourse by carrying out monthly seminars. The center also collaborate with organisations to allow students to familiarise themselves with real-world application. The Design Studies in RIT’s MFA in Visual Communication Design largely object and research based. The curriculum employs the use of the archives as primary sources where students will conduct critical research. It encourages students to publish their graduate theses, and aims to prepare students for their professional careers. The pedagogical methodology they employed is broken up into three parts. The first is design studies, where it includes the history, theory and criticism of design. The Design Methodology focuses on the theory and strategies related to the design process. Lastly, the Archival Studies is the critical analysis of the theory, methodology , and the practice of acquisition and management of the archive.
Multi-Disciplinary Resource As the Vignellis have a extensive range of artefacts as study material, the different faculties in RIT are able to benefit from it. Also, as it a donation from the designers themselves, they are able to provide the actual materials which show the process behind the project, and are also able to ensure the accuracy of the presentation of the resources with first-hand involvement and account. The archival materials also come in a wide range of medias – from digital files to technical plans. It follows the vision of the Vignellis, where they emphasise on how designers should be willing to be collaborate and that there shouldn’t be segmentation of disciplines in design. As Massimo Vignelli said, designers “should be able to design anything from a spoon, to a city”. There is also a website extension of the archives called “archive: Vignelli”. The website is a digital archive where they document the process of the management of an archive. It seeks to provide insights and never before seen sketches.
“Design is one.” Massimo & Lella Vignelli The Archivist Jennifer Whitlock works as an archivist for Vignelli Center for Design Studies. She is involved with curating and managing the archive, creating a digital archive, as well as integrating collections into the curriculum. In an article with the Los Angeles Archivists Collective, Whitlock poses a question if design in archives matter at all. She then opined that design is largely about visual literacy, and is important for people to learn and improve on past ideas.
Involvement In The Curriculum In an interview with AIGA, Professor R. Roger Remington, Vignelli Distinguished Professor of Design from RIT, mentioned that Prof. Bruce Meador uses the archival materials in the Center to launch contemporary visual communications project. For instance, Vignelli’s Unigrid System brochure for National Parks Services was used as a material for students to conduct critical analysis, thereafter, application in their own works. The involvement of the archive in the curriculum helps the student understand the theoretical and more importantly, allow them to appreciate the transferable and applicable aspects of past designs, and how it will look in today’s context. The entry point lies when the students discover an artefact which is relevant, or they have came across or used before. That is when they will learn the story and details behind that artefact.
The National Parks Service brochure showing a grid application designed by Massimo Vignelli. “The Unigrid System”. Massimo Vignelli, 1977.
An example of a school project where students apply their research on the Unigrid System through the Vignelli Archives. “Student Demonstration Project: Disease Posters”. Unknown, 2012.
Carving A Future For Students Josh Owen, the Chairperson for RIT’s Industrial Design Program shared how the program course is crafted to give students an opportunity to learn from the design process of the Vignellis. The school also tied in industry partnerships and competition to add client-based experiences to help prepare students for their career. Owen, as the Programme Chairperson has worked closely with Roger Remington, the Director of Vignelli Archives to design a curriculum called the Metaproject. It allows students to use the Vignelli Center as a launchpad to collaborate with industry briefs. That way, students can learn lessons through the artefacts, by focusing the output towards industry collaborators rather than just a conceptual problem. The Metaproject has received results from critical design field, and a number of them has moved on to be leaders in the industry after graduation.
A dedicated website to archive the various student works launched from the Archive. Screenshot from RIT, Activating The Vignelli Archive Program website.
Activating The Vignelli Archive This course also bridges the faculty with students so that they can use the resources as part of their study material. In one of the industrial design coursework, students are required to make drinking vessels designed for specific alcohol or coffee. They had to research into the history, delivery and usage of these vessels, and the outcome has to be in sync with the Center’s philosophy of design. An example is the Champagne Popsicle, designed by Guillermo Fok. Through the process, Fok encompasses understanding the history of glass and champagne, as well as user trends, before coming out with the final product. Guillermo Fok ,the winner of the program revealed his process and how he has worked with the design of the program. For him, he direction was informed by the simple and timeless philosophy of the Vignellis’ design process.
An archived Product Design project where the students will study critically about Massimo Vignelli’s past works, and launch their own projects to embody the same spirit. “Champagne Popsicle”. Guillermo Fok.
Appreciation Of Design History In a presentation given by R. Roger Remington and Jennifer Whitlock, it was mentioned that RIT is the only design school which adopts an approach to allow students to learn about design history through real archival artefacts instead of slides or indirect references. It is more stimulating and exciting for students to discover resources. The resources range from prototypes and sketches, to finished projects, where it would continue to inspire students at different stages of their design process. The archive also include official letters which could be part of the history of a project, as it provides the detail of one aspect of a particular project. It is important to note that the deliberate decision to include these ephemeras shows that the archive aims to educate the future generations of designers to not just learn from the design aspects, but also the personal milestones in which the Vignellis have achieved and found historic. They will learn about the ethics, backstory, conversations behind the artefact and every back and forth with the manufacturer, and the Vignelli Archive holds all of that.
A letter reply from Massimo Vignelli to The Museum Of Modern Art (MoMA), addressing their request to collect the Heller mugs. Screenshot from YouTube, Activating the Archives - Vignelli Center for Design Studies.
Design Archives 31
Preserving West Michigan’s Identity The West Michigan Graphic Design Archives is housed in the Zhang Legacy Collections Center, West Michigan University. The archive strives to preserve the rich graphic design legacy in West Michigan, where the paper manufacturing industry was flourishing because of the available natural resources. The thriving paper industry has in turn influenced graphic design. The archive acknowledges the various parts of the process of graphic design, and not just limit its focus on the designers alone.
The Archivists Under the leadership of alumni graphic designers Linda Powell and Barbara Loveland, the pair and an advisory board formed fully of volunteers, consulted the design, printing and paper communities to contribute to the archives with over 700 curated artefacts. They felt that it was important to preserve their rich history of design in West Michigan, where there was a turning point of the school’s practice to be graphic design instead of commercial art.
Linda Powell (right), and Barbara Loveland (left) in the West Michigan Design Archives. Photo Courtesy, Adam Bird.
Design Before The Digital The archive hopes that by bringing students in to study the artefacts, they get to see how things were done before the 1980s, where the computer and softwares were introduced. It hopes to inspire students to explore processes to enrich their work, and design beyond digital medias. As such, their archives also strive to cover production process of artefacts when the necessary information is available.
Catergorisation Because of their interest in documenting the production of an artefact, they made additional effort to sort their collections according to the clients or firms. These physical and digital artefacts allow researchers to better understand how graphic design has helped businesses, as well as how these industries have in turn shaped their graphic design culture.
The “Calliope Publication”, a student publication produced bi-annually which promotes good student writing. Designed by Tiit Telmet and Carole Lanham, 1967.
West Kowloon 34
Removal of Sammy’s Kitchen neon signboard. Photo Courtesy, M+.
Hong Kong’s Visual Identity In Asia The M+ Building will be a museum which scheduled to be fully operational between 2020 to 2021, and is currently under construction at Kowloon, Hong Kong. It is an institute of Hong Kong’s rich visual culture of the twentieth to twenty-first century. An example is the collection of Hong Kong’s iconic neon sign, when authorities have been taking them down due to their condition. These physical signs have then been absorbed into their archive, alongside photographic documentations and drawings. There is also an interactive website dedicated to these signboards besides their main digital archive.
Open Access Data The museum is also centered around being open accessibility, and has mentioned that they are working towards a building a public API which allows the creative field to use their data in their GitHub page for new and creative means.
Students gathered around the M+ Rover, a traveling creative studio. Photo Courtesy, M+
Educators in a teacher’s private viewing as part of the M+ Teacher Programme. Photo Courtesy, M+
Wide Outreach & Mobility Even before the official opening of their main building, M+ has been aggressive with their outreach as a resource for the public. They have been active with their school programs, designed for both students and teachers. In 2016, they launched the M+ Rover where it is a traveling creative studio where it is used as a mobile makeshift exhibition space for educational purposes. Educators are not left out as there are private events where invited creatives will share more about their works, where the educators can then understand with more depth and are able to share more with their students. Besides being a platform for educational institutions, they also have programmes for the general public, like Youth Camps or Volunteer Programmes, where they encourage the public to participate in creative projects, and question perceptions of art and design.
M+ Stories, a website dedicated to writings and criticism of Hong Kong’s local creative scene. Screenshot from M+ Stories.
Attention To Context M+ Stories is an extension which writes about creative topics in Hong Kong. A variety of formats are employed in their story-telling, ranging from blog posts to video interviews. The point of it is driven by their belief that it is important to provide historical and contextual background besides just the physical artefacts.
Digital-Friendly As M+ Building is still under construction, they have adopted interim measures to allow the public to still have access to some of the resources. M+ has been active with creating microsites for events, collections, and information to ensure that the absence of physical space is not an inhibitor.
Design Archives 38
Three of the many team members in the Malaysia Design Archive. From left to right: Jac, Ezrena, Simon. Photo Courtesy, Bryan Ong.
Team Dynamics Our neighbouring country also had a somewhat similar predicament; a gap in the archiving of design through the lens of design. Ezrena Marwan, a Malaysian graphic designer, founded Malaysia Design Archive (MDA) in 2007. Ezrena is also active in other design organisations such as the woman designer collective. MDA started out as a website to collect Malaysian design resources, dated since 1957, and has grown to become a dedicated independent organisation to trace and map the culture and development of Malaysian graphic design. They recognised that graphic design is essentially a multi-disciplinary product, and thus brought together disciplines out of design, as they have also contributed largely to the process of design. They were keen on using graphic design as a lens to piece together national narratives. The team behind MDA has varying backgrounds, but also experts in their own fields to ensure the information is as accurate and objective as possible at all points of information acquisition. From junior archivists to researchers, architectural historian to political scientists, their team dynamics shows that much attention is given to an archived material’s context.
Education Through History Archives are usually organised by an over-arching theme. For MDA, the manner in which the materials are organised is through the lens of Malaysia’s political climate. It is has 4 collections; Colonalism, Occupation, Emergency and Independence. Within each collections, a short background of the political climate is given, along with the time period, so viewers can better appreciate how the politics and cultural influences shaped the visual culture.
A talk on cultural motifs and ideas from Buddhist Melayu past by Dr. Imran Tajudeen, jointly organised by MDA and the University Of Malaya. Photo Courtesy, Malaysia Design Archives.
Engaging Through Workshops MDA has been active with hosting design-related programmes to arouse the public’s interest in their history and also foster a culture of collaboration. With the programmes, they hope to build inter-disciplinary communities, and bring people from various disciplinary backgrounds, whether they’re researchers, academics, designers, or students together to learn from each other.
Future Plans Besides their current public engagement with online repositories and the physical collection at Zhongshan Building, there are plans to bring it one step further by having monthly themed box from their archives to encourage the public to create works based on their findings. They are also looking towards building the archive to be more systematic and comprehensive.
Comparison Matrix Herb Lubalin Study Center
Vignelli Center For Design Studies
West Michigan Graphic Design Archives
M+ Pavilion West Kowloon
Malaysia Design Archive
Preserving design history through the works of Herb Lubalin
Enhance the quality of design education at RIT and beyond
Preserving West Michigan’s paper industry & design
Preserving Hong Kong’s visual culture in Asia
Tracing national legacy through visual culture
Archivist/ Team Background
Committee & Advisory Board
Funds by university
Funds by university
Funds by university
Funds by organisation
Self-Funded and donations
Leverage On Outreach
Used in curriculum and competitions
Used in curriculum for industry projects, and archives students’ output
Archives some of WMU students’ works
Mobile studio for use in education
Conduct workshops and talks for the public
Synthesis With the matrix, we are able to spot some trends. Archives as repositories are used to widely used to preserve legacies, or enhance the learning experience in schools. What is interesting to note is that the archives which are funded by the institute, have the archives incorporated into the curriculum. Some schools have also went the extra mile to archive these outputs from students. Having to launch projects from the archive has shown astounding results, as it prepares students for the industry. While in some cases where schools have been using the archive as a resource, there are also some archives which reach out to the public by bringing education out of the institutional space. These archives are active in organising programmes as a platform to participate in the creative discourse. There is an on-going conversation. As far as archivists play an essential role in archives, it is seeing more educators and/or graphic designers holding the appointment of the curator.
The State Of Archives As we compare and reflect on the state of Singapore’s archive infrastructure, the local archive scene is nascent. There has been increasing conversations, which led to independent efforts in preserving the nation-state’s visual culture, but there is still a lack of support from official bodies, where attention can be given to grow Singapore’s design position and identity within the region. The absence of archives have also led to a gap in our visual history. The gradual disappearance of the collective visual literacy built over time is debilitating, and it influences the way we do design, think about design, and learn about design. Looking ahead, it would be interesting to think about how existing resources can be used to enhance the local design culture, and how it can change over time. When we unlock the potential of the archives, there is so much more to be achieved.
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