The latest: A guide to online resources for designers during coronavirus

The latest: A guide to online resources for designers during coronavirus

For the moment, everyday life has been affected by the ongoing coronavirus epidemic. The government has enforced lockdown measures, and all but key workers have to work from home. Many design companies have been working remotely for several weeks. And while a lot of work can be done from home, the design industry also relies on face-to-face “sparks” and live events. Institutions and agencies have created a variety of platforms to help designers who suddenly find themselves working remotely. These platforms offer inspiration, new opportunities for skill development, and new communities in times of isolation.

You can find Design Week’s coverage of how COVID-19 is affecting the design industry here, ranging from advice for freelancers to ongoing reaction from the design world. Our guide has been updated with the latest resources.

Type design classes

Juan Villanueva, a monotype designer, has created an online critiquing platform for students of type design. Type Crit Crew has already attracted 48 designers to its mentoring program. Any “experienced” designer can sign up. To get feedback from a Type Crit Crew mentor, students should simply look at the Type Crit Crew Spreadsheet and contact a Type Designer of their choice. Critiques should take between 15 and 20 minutes. There are no dumb questions. It is intended to promote “love and passion about type” and make the field “more inclusive of all types.”

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You can find out more information here.

Digital design calendar, from Design Museum

London’s Design Museum launched a series of digital events in April. Tim Marlow, the director of the museum, said that it is now “the time to reach out, be responsive, and to ask questions.” Morag Myerscough, Ron Arad and Christopher Raeburn are the designers who have joined as partners. Events will be presented through four strands for children and adults. The #DesignDispatches – Instagram Lives with top designers and Marlow are particularly interesting. The first was with transport designer Paul Priestman, and can be re-watched on the museum’s Instagram.

The full line-up can be viewed on the Design Museum’s website.

Free design courses, from Pluralsight

While not everyone reacts to the pandemic the same way, some people find themselves with more time which could mean they can brush up on their skills. Pluralsight offers its services free of charge for the month. It has more than 7,000 courses online in different fields. There is a digital focus in design. Justin Marshall, a computer graphic designer who worked on Jurassic Park as well as Toy Story, has an online course. MJ Jones has also been a designer for videogames like Call of Duty. Jon Flanders is an AR expert and teaches about mobile development as well as the Internet of Things.

The courses are free for month of April.

The Digital Culture Network, from Arts Council England

“As these unprecedented times demand us to work in unimaginable ways, we’re here for you,” Arts Council England says about its new digital network. The Digital Culture Network will “collate free resources and webinars with support organizations”. Its ‘tech champions’ are available to offer one-on-one support in areas like maintaining audience engagement, online retail income generation, and maximising your website’s offerings.

Follow the Art Council England website and Twitter to keep up with developments.

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Slack spaces for designers

Designers are able to connect through social networks. Fiasco Design’s Ben Steers created a Slack Group and told Design Week that it was a creative “safe place”. Slack was “the obvious platform” for designers to “share insights, advice, and knowledge, as well as work opportunities.”

Within just 18 hours of his initial tweet about the group, Steers had received 150 requests for membership from designers around the globe. He adds that Steers’ number one priority was to keep the team fully informed about what’s happening and the implications of the pandemic for business across the industry. You can send a request to join through Steers’ Twitter.

In the long term, Steers hopes that the crisis might have a positive consequence: “Strength comes from adversity and maybe if anything good comes from all of this, it’s that we will end up better connected and more conscious of the power of the collective.” A trend is emerging across the sector; Ben the Illustrator has also set up a Slack space specifically for illustrators.

Portfolio reviews and mentoring classes

Chris Algar, senior graphic designer at Design Bridge offers online mentoring to students in graphic design whose studies were disrupted due to COVID-19. Tutorials will be offered online in 15-minute sessions. Algar has partnered with Intern, an online magazine, to spread the word. More information is available here.

Handsome Frank, a London-based design studio, has created a free online portfolio review system for designers. Jon Cockley, co-founder of the studio, told Design Week that the inspiration for the classes was a feeling of “slight hopelessness”. Cockley states that the response has been overwhelming to the initiative. Three people will be interviewed daily by the studio about their work, for a total of 15 minutes. Cockley says, “We talk about their work, portfolios, aspirations, and then we try to give some advice and inspiration to them to make their work better.” Designers of all levels can apply through Twitter, by using the hashtag #hfreview.

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Youth, a Manchester-based interior and product design studio, offers online sessions for students who have lost their university jobs. Sessions range from portfolio advice to career planning. Send an email to hello@youth.studio to apply.

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Catch up with the cult of Helvetica

Ruth Carter, from the Netflix’s Abstract

Gary Hustwit, a documentary filmmaker, announced that he would stream one of his films free of charge every week during the COVID-19 crises. Helvetica, the first documentary by an American filmmaker, is about the spread of the typeface in urban environments and advertising. It includes input from Paula Scher, Stefan Sagmeister, and Michael Bierut. Hustwit also made a documentary on Dieter Rams, and Objectified. This film focuses on “our complicated relationship with manufactured objects.” The films are available to stream here.

On iPlayer, you can also catch a six-part series that takes viewers behind the scenes at the V&A (and read our interview with one of the show’s producers here). And if you have a Netflix subscription, you can watch both series of Abstract: the Art of Design – featuring the likes of Olafur Eliasson and Ruth Carter – and catch our interview with the show’s co-creator here.

Online art and design courses, from the National Art Library

The National Art Library, which is housed at the V&A, will be closed in the near future. It has compiled a list (freely) of art and design courses. You can find a lot of information, including archives about British and Irish furniture and Graphikportal which has dozens of print rooms in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

You can access the collection here.

Adobe opens up its services for free

Wiip

Adobe Creative Cloud has made its services free for two months, until May 31st. It is open to all, but it is only for design students who wish to continue their education at home.

Although product launches may have been delayed by the coronavirus, a digital platform was released in time to encourage creativity. Wiip lets designers create “visual collaborations” (think mood board), to help dispersed creatives in this difficult time of isolation. For 12 months, the pro version is free.

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