The languages of web design are developing rapidly and on a much larger scale in comparison to previous major design movements. In open online communities there is little physical or geographical idea of ownership. In the same way say Dutch modernism exists parallel to Swiss or German or American modernism, Australia now has an opportunity to actively contribute to a global movement in contemporary design with an Australian accent.
In the case of modernist design, until fairly recently, there existed a detachment between its refined, mathematical constructions and the reality of the Australian cultural vernacular. The early efforts of a few local hobbyists of the international style to incorporate these methods, though often brilliant, geninely successful and culturally relevant, were met largely with disinterest from clients and confusion from the public destined to be squashed by schooner swilling national fauna. As designers pushing the ethics and styles from a distant haven became marginalised by blue collar business, the demanded aesthetic was cheapened and the industry left being taken for granted.
Corporate web graphics have already undergone several phases and circulating trends, though a number of systems of presenting and navigating through screen-based content could be seen as the formation of a movement. Concepts such as web standards and more recently responsive web design with function before form. At the other end of the scale, DIY sub-cultures have moved from Xerox to tumblr, subverting web standards by the <>. We are seeing a new aesthetic born from the artists’ growing tactility with the Internet as medium (not purely canvas), and Australian artists and designers are coding its manifesto.
Is it possible (or reasonable) for Australia to develop it’s own version of these emerging online and interactive design styles?
The opportunity our local industry faces is to gather the same support established elsewhere. Through increased funding, better education and respectable budgets for R & D on less commercial or experimental projects, we can move from the imitative position as under-acknowledged outsider, to an owner of the contemporary graphic design.