Why design anyway?

I saw Tribe was having a design competition the other day, well I overheard a friend talking about it. She wanted to enter, the prospect is exciting enough, send in your concepts and mood boards etc and you too can have a tribe costume on the road. In this town where fame is as good a currency as anything, there were lots of knee-jerk reactions in praise of possibly winning such an offer. However, I am sceptical. Why give away Ideas for free? Why not recruit and hire people that are of interest or are promising and work with them instead of a competition?

Now full disclosure here, I was part of a process leading up to Lost Tribe’s design for the 2018 Presentation. I eventually left as we could not come to an agreement on final designs. Why did I even bother with it, even though I had been critical of the band before? Well, in all honesty, I was looking for a platform to design and Tribe (and carnival) was just as big as any I could think of, so I thought I could have brought something new.

So, it is easy to pick on Tribe, it is a big enough target, I like a lot of folks there, we are cool, (I think). But the failed process mentioned earlier highlighted how I feel about (Carnival) Design. There is a lack of process in a lot of the work I observe. From concept to execution we end up with something that references the idea, but evidence of research is lacking, no cohesion and the result is always something cobbled together quickly and held together expertly by some very talented photographers, beautiful models, stylists and wonderful locations.

By default, some things stand out, colours pop and people are happy after the marketing machine is done and Fear of Missing Out kicks in we have something that works for the most part but no hard design. In my opinion.

With no competition able to throw the money of gather enough support to put a competitive vision out there, Carnival continues to be boring, celebrated in a fervour by a smaller and smaller group of people liking each other’s selfies. This is because of a lack of a clear design process. Competitions are a great way to give away your ideas for free with the hope of some recognition. People should value designers and what they do.

I could offer some cool design solutions but, pay me!


Share this post


Leave a comment

Note, comments must be approved before they are published

4 comments

  • This quote really stood out to me…
    “There is a lack of process in a lot of the work I observe. From concept to execution we end up with something that references the idea, but evidence of research is lacking, no cohesion and the result is always something cobbled together quickly and held together expertly by some very talented photographers, beautiful models, stylists and wonderful locations.”

    I agree with this James. The “lack of a clear design process” is always the problem with carnival in general I think. As is evident in not only the mas bands but in the events that are staged around Carnival. But this would only improve if the people with the financing and the government realize the importance of design preparation in order to produce a first class product or presentation.

    • Donna
  • Someone gets it. Finally, I was accused of sounding like a hater for sharing sentiments similar to David’s. Personally I think that these bands are just recycling concepts. It’s a pity that you ended up leaving the Lost Tribe team, I would have loved to see what the end result of that would have been.

    • Nelly B.
  • Wellllll said my brother, I have observed and heard of these competitions before and the question would always be where do all the unchoosen designs go… into the vault for a free rework and a later birth on the carnival scene…

    • David Phipps
  • Hire and pay. That’s the way

    • Baidawi