Picks of the month: design events to catch in April

A new exhibition on the design of all things football and a Black designer’s view of industry are among our top picks this month.

Workshop: Drop-in + Design: Mazes, at V&A Dundee

Photo courtesy of Michael McGurk

V&A Dundee’s series of drop-in sessions are a chance for families to learn more about the museum’s design projects, set within the site’s studios. This month, people of all ages will be able to learn about playscapes, mazes and other sensory spaces. The theme is inspired by V&A Dundee’s installation Listening to Joy, an interactive playground by Yinka Ilori. Listening to Joy incorporates the designer’s characteristic playful use of pattern and colour to create a maze with a difference: the walls feature zips which you can open and close to transform the surroundings. There are also two circular xylophones where you can try out your musical skills.

Drop in + Design: Mazes takes place at V&A Dundee on 24 April, from 1pm-4pm. Listening to Joy is open until 5 June. Visit V&A Dundee’s website for more information.

Exhibition: Football: Designing the Beautiful Game, the Design Museum

To celebrate this year’s World Cup, London’s Design Museum is delving into the design and creativity behind the beautiful game. “Paying homage to a game with unparalleled cultural significance, the exhibition will reveal how human creativity has pushed the game to its technical and emotional limits,” the museum says. It will showcase over 500 objects – from team badges to kit innovation – and how they relate to the sport and some of its most famous players including Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona. It’s set to be a comprehensive overview, looking at the design of stadiums, material break-throughs and of course the graphic design behind teams which fans hold dear. Conceived in collaboration with Manchester’s National Football Museum, there will also be an “immersive stadium reconstruction” as well as a dedicated section to fan culture.
Football: Designing the Beautiful Game runs from 8 April-29 August 2022 at London’s Design Museum. For more information on opening hours and ticket prices, visit the museum’s website.

Book: Reimagining Design: Unlocking Strategic Innovation

Courtesy of MIT Press

At a time of increasing uncertainty, what can design do to solve ever-changing problems? Designer Kevin Bethune takes on that thorny issue in his new book, with a view to diversity and inclusion. Bethune started life as an engineer, before joining Nike as a designer. He now runs his own design think tank. In Reimagining Design, he draws on his experience as a Black designer in the industry to highlight challenges but also offer an optimistic viewpoint on the world to come. As well as discussing topics such as diversity in the workplace and the industry, he touches upon his career – including designing Air Jordans. For Bethune, the book has a wide-ranging audience. He hopes professional designers may learn how to harness their talents in “increasingly multidisciplinary situations”, while business leaders can learn from the “empathic” mindset around design thinking.

Reimagining Design: Unlocking Strategic Innovation by Kevin Bethune is published by MIT Press, and is available now. It costs around £15.45 on Amazon.

Podcast: On Design, from Justyna Green


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The new season of On Design continues into April, with a range of guests including Yinka Ilori and Pentagram’s Marina Willer. Hosted by London-based illustrator Justyna Green, the podcast is a lively and informal occasion where designers discuss their inspirations, methods for working and how they interact with the world around them. So far this season, sound designer Yuri Suzuki has discussed the challenges of crafting tactile sounds, while Superflux co-founder Anab Jain has talked about the studio’s work in the environmental and tech space.

You can catch all new episodes of On Design, and listen to all previous episodes, on most major streaming platforms. For more information, head to the On Design website.

D&AD Still Learning Live: Pali Palavathanan

Pali Palavathanan

How do design leaders keep their work fresh? Templo co-founder and creative director Pali Palavathanan is joining current D&AD president Rebecca Wright this month to discuss his career journey so far and why he’s not finishing learning. As well as picking up tips and insight from the designer – who’s worked on projects for the UN and French business school CEDEP – you can also ask your own questions.

D&AD Still Learning Live takes place 27 April online at 6pm. It is free to attend.For more information, visit the D&AD website

Other things to catch:

• Superheroes, Orphans & Origins: 125 years in comics is now open at the Foundling Museum. You can read our interview with the curator about how comic books and graphic novels have explored themes of “care experience” for over a century here. For more information on opening times and ticket prices, visit the Foundling Museum’s website.
• Now Play This, at Somerset House. Experimental games festival Now Play This returns to London’s Somerset for three days from 8 April. Expect talks, films and installations around the theme of democracy and game design. For more information, visit Somerset House’s website.

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