Learning to Communicate

June 4, 2012

Issue statement by Iker Gil, editor in chief of MAS Context.


Mas issue communication cover opening

As designers, we are pretty good at understanding the bigger picture of problems and we are able to distill them into their main ideas and necessary actions. It is a fantastic asset that we develop and continuously refine throughout our career. Often, we like to share and discuss those ideas and actions with our peers, all agreeing on the potential of design in addressing the pressing issues that we face.

There is one problem however: we are just preaching to the choir. We discuss these ideas with people in our own discipline that already know about the potential of design. They are people who share a similar education and haven been exposed to similar ideas and precedents. At the same time, we use tools specific to our own field to communicate those ideas, instantly limiting the audience and the possibility of incorporating other people from other disciplines.

We have to be smarter at showing the value and potential of design to non-designers. We have to communicate the potential of addressing things in a comprehensive, analytical, ambitious, and optimistic way. The issues we face are complex and multilayered so we need to figure out ways to engage people who must be in the discussion in order to solve things but might have a different backgrounds.

Since the first issue of MAS Context, we have tried to address this communication problem by combining content formats (such as essays, photographs, diagrams, videos just to name a few) and distribution platforms (online, downloadable, physical, events) to not only allow communicating efficiently and clearly the complexity of each topic but also engage with a wider audience. In the end it is about providing critical and analytical thinking to the issues we face and being able to discuss it with others who approach those issues from a different perspective.

In this issue we are including essays, interviews, questionnaires, case studies and illustrations that explore the potential of communication through buildings, exhibitions, manuals, charrettes, urban interventions, drawings and words. They are architects, curators, editors, graphic designers, illustrators, sound designers, academics and instigators who, through their work, communicate ideas, emotions, aspirations, concerns, perceptions, and personalities. Based in cities of Brazil, Canada, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, UK, and USA, their work speaks to us all. Now it is our turn to join the conversation.