In management terminology, “emerging markets” refers to those that, by virtue of being less developed, offer more opportunity for long-term profit. By the same token, since precedents for operating in these areas are difficult to identify, emerging markets are also more subject to risk factors. For graphic designers, economic and technological change has both fundamentally altered traditional industries, such as publishing, advertising and broadcast, as well as opened up avenues to new and hybrid forms of practice that involve not only design, but also research and strategy, systems integration, independent publishing and even nation-building. Workspaces are no longer fixed and centralized, but distributed across various time zones and countries, asynchronously connected via technology, bringing together multiple perspectives and generating new forms of collaboration. Designers are required not only to respond to requests for proposals but also to identify or create frameworks that allow them to make the work they want to make.
Teaming up to examine how emergent forms of design practice respond to the opportunities and risks our contemporary world presents, AIGA/NY and the Museum of Arts and Design co-present the series Emerging Markets and Graphic Design. Over the course of these evenings, a variety of quests, ranging from those underway by small and loose collectives to corporate studios, come together to look at how designers are using the tools and craft of design to navigate previously unchartered territories.