In recent Editor's Comment (The festival was a success, but let's keep up the debate, 26 September 2007 [paid sub may be required]) Lynda Relph-Knight claimed that the iDesign event during the London Design Festival was "London's first big conference on digital design".
Its backers at the London Development Agency patently listened when they trawled opinion last year about the future direction of the festival... [The LDA has extened funding to] London's first big conference on digital design... The iDesign event, organised by Dynamo London and New Media Knowledge, was one of the highlights of this year's festival.
In 1996, as most people who were engaged with design and the Web at the time will remember (as they were there), Kevin McCullagh and myself programmed 'Designing the Internet' with the Central Saint Martins MA Communication Design, putting the design firmly with the digital. Later that year the Typographic Circle, Society of Typographic Designers and Chartered Society of Designers hosted Windows on the Digital Future. In 2000 Jakob Nielsen, Kevin McCullagh and myself programmed Design For Usability, attended by over 400 people, putting Web usability on the agenda and helping lay the foundations for a now flourishing industry.
None of these events relied on the London Development Agency or other state bodies for funding. Like the London Architecture Biennale – on which the Festival is increasingly encroaching – they paid their way with ticket sales and commercial sponsorship.
Now that digital design has been embraced across designland, and digital design events are everywhere – from This happened show and tells to the Future of Web Design conferences – it might be appropriate for the London Development Agency to support coordination of information around these and other design events, so we can have a year-round festival of design, with the London Design Festival as the icing on the cake. I have proposed such an approach to the London Development Agency's Creative London division. It is time to raise it again.
Published as a letter entitled iDesign wasn’t the first digital design conference in Design Week, 17 October 2007 [paid sub required from one week after publication]