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Week 32.

How Do We Recreate the Real World Online?

A Donut by Timothy on 16 August

This week I once again step back into the classroom as a temporary art teacher which is always a positive experience. I don’t think many would complain about having a career which seamlessly interchanges between working with shiny graphics on a screen and getting paint under your fingernails and clay dust all over your pants.

We are all creators – we might arrange flowers, bake, scrapbook, paint. Even at the most basic level, we have all at one stage of our lives created towers out of blocks or cookies out of play dough. There wouldn’t be many people who look back with negative thoughts about those moments or the spaces in which we created. There is also something that has to be said about working with our hands. Having tools and tangible materials spark child-like moments for us where we are transported back to colouring in books and play dough. I don’t think it ever matters how old we become (a particularly sore point for August, given that Kylie and I both ‘celebrate’ yet another birthday milestone) we will always have an emotional response to colour, creation and anything tactile. The question then becomes, how can we take these elements—the best elements of the real world— and use them to re-imagine our online world? How do we recreate online spaces and online moments that incite emotional responses similar to those we experience in the real world?

I think it is something we need to remember when we are designing for ourselves. We need to find effective ways of simulating that dirty workspace, that scratch of a granite pencil and that slight imperfection of hand work when we look at a reflective screen. Our desks can be such a wonderful means of expressing our personalities and our online spaces should do the same. Sometimes, the simple act of being able to customise the theme colours on our blogs and emails can make all the difference in feeling like we have ownership over our little part of the web.

This week's donut?

The one attitude change I've had towards design is this; emotional response is far more important that aesthetic perfection.

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