Magical Design

April 29 2016

Next week I will be a Master in Design and will move back to Brazil to try to change the world. My Master’s Program emphasizes self-reflection a lot, and I wrote the following as part of one of my courses.

Also, thanks for introducing me to the listserve, big brother, love you =)

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I believe in magic.

I grew up with my nose stuck in a book, many books, and it made me believe in magic. I never really thought people could make things levitate, or that a frog could actually be a prince, but I believed in the message behind it. Acceptance, trust, kindness, friendship, love, things that made the magic possible. Child me believed that if I had those things inside me, magic would be real.

Fast forward to adult me, in the Harry Potter theme park, waiting in line behind a small child that wasn’t born when the last book came out, ready to try the new interactive attraction. You wave the wand in the correct way and say the spell, and magic happens. Well, it actually works with a sensor that captures the movement that comes from the very expensive interactive wand. Saying the spell isn’t even really required, there is no microphone. But it works. Wave your wand and you can make a magical creature move, you can summon water from an umbrella or open curtains for a puppet show. What I realized there was that they designed magic. Fake, but actual magic.

People have been designing magic for a long time. What if we could talk to people that are far away? What if we could send letters in one second? What if we could fly? Maybe we can’t create exactly the same designs from my books, but we can get pretty close. Science fiction and fantasy can inspire design to think forward, to imagine what the future could be like, so we can design for it.

It can be in small, silly things like making an animatronic phoenix talk in a theme park, or in wicked problems that affect so many people around the world. We can design magic if we can accept our users and understand them for who they are, not who we want them to be. If we trust our skills to build it and our team to work together. And if we are kind and can imagine a better future.

This I believe.

Dani G
[email protected]
Bloomington, IN

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