Although naysayers are clamoring for time for printing, a biannual newspaper launched during the pandemic is defying convention as it thrives in an increasingly digital media landscape. Presumption Log is a Los Angeles-based print publication and online platform dedicated to disrupting the canon of design as we know it. Launched by Nu Goteh, Alice Grandoit-Šutka and Marquise Stillwell in spring 2020, its credo is to establish design as a social practice, to ask what design can do for communities and to create intergenerational and transdisciplinary conversations. In doing so, Consider hopes to uncover meaningful stories, connections, and patterns that can help us better understand our stories and imagine a collective future.
It’s an ambitious request for the trio, who have pursued professions adjacent to design rather than working primarily in design itself. However, in accordance with Consider‘s believe design is everywhere, their combined lived experiences position them well positioned to challenge the design industry’s traditional focus on aesthetics and production.
Presumption Log: highlighting the design process
The first issue of Presumption Loglaunched in 2020 and themed “Designing for Dignity”, included an interview with writer and activist Adrienne Maree Brown
Consider was born when design strategist and cultural innovator Goteh sought to make more impact with his longtime friend Grandoit-Šutka, publisher and editor. ‘Alice and I have been collaborators and best friends in our past life in marketing [at Red Bull] and, as we were both very disenchanted with this world, we began to look for opportunities to engage more meaningfully with the community of which we are a part,” he says. Goteh now serves as Consider‘s creative director while Grandoit-Šutka is its editorial director. Together they also run Room for Magic, a strategy and design studio operating at the intersection of culture, community and commerce.
“When I was in graduate school at Parsons, I came across a panel discussion that Marquise was a part of,” says Goteh. Documentary filmmaker Stillwell is the founder of New York-based design and consulting studio Openbox. “We forged a relationship that led to me becoming a member of Openbox. This period was very formative for my understanding of what design could be. When Alice and I came together to launch Room for Magic, Marquise proposed to launch a publication, so we came together to create what is now Consider.’
Consider celebrates the diverse and process-oriented methodologies of design for all their subjectivity and uniqueness. The journal is founded on the notion that design is fundamentally a shared experience that adds value to communities. Presenting it as such not only lends weight to the discipline beyond the superficial level, but also allows non-traditional designers to identify with the field. Goteh says, “We started by trying to understand design by looking at different practitioners operating across disciplines, in order to reframe what design might be. It made us realize that actually the problem is not just that people are locked up. The biggest problem is that people are excluded from the design.
An exploration of the collaborative design systems of a Uruguayan housing cooperative, from the first issue of Presumption Log
“What we started to see is that design is in love with releases and items. These items are usually measured by a level of loyalty, and loyalty is tied to resources and capital. We wanted to focus on which starts to happen when you look at design in its truest form, which is a process and adds value. This approach is much more inclusive, much more dynamic and can empower people because the process of creating value is not limited to designers alone. So many people who are adjacent to design, or even who are outside of design, participate in it every day. Highlighting the design process allows us to bring more voice, more perspectives and to have more intentionality in terms of the stories we tell and how we tell them. Adds Grandoit-Šutka, “It was really important to start building a field of inclusion p more dynamic around design, if we wanted to perpetuate our practices. That’s why we choose to talk with the people we do.
“This idea of design as a moment of added value is so important,” says Stillwell. “The challenge is when we talk about who actually owns this, who are the guardians of design. Unfortunately, when you look at the history of design – the more industrial practice of design, where designers create repeated results and those these are measured through an economic lens – this automatically limited the number of individuals who could get involved The design is now at a place where we have actually limited true production fidelity by limiting the process and the people who are part of this journey.
Advocacy for diversity
number three of Consideron the theme “Envisioning Equity”, presents a contribution from the Black Reconstruction Collective
Consider challenges this limited notion of design by advocating for more diverse design teams. He adds, “You can’t design for women without women being part of the process. You need to have them on the team and as part of the process.
With three issues to its credit and a fourth launched later this year, Consider quickly became a popular resource for design insiders and non-designers alike. The numbers are structured around a theme and retain little. The first issue was on “Designing for Dignity”, its follow-up focused on “Pedagogy for a New World”, and the third was on “Envisioning Equity”. Each episode delved into the disparities within creative fields and how practitioners of all ages, creeds, genders and backgrounds are championing the way forward. In May, the publication was honored by the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects with the first New Perspectives Award, which celebrates the contribution of individuals or collectives to the development of a broader understanding of architecture. through their unique critical positions.
Choosing to create a print publication was simply a matter of “evidence”, says Stillwell, who was previously involved in Of Fortune, an independent publication that documents contemporary feminist culture. “It’s about having something tangible, staying close and feeling. We’ve become so digital that we can click and keep moving, and I wanted to make sure that was something to come back to. Grandoit-Šutka adds, “I believe the way a post can hold your attention can direct you to really sit down with the material and integrate it into your way of thinking.
A large number of ConsiderThe plays are presented in the form of conversations and interviews, which let the words and voices of the subjects speak for themselves. This is a reflection of the research-oriented practices of the three co-founders. The themes are also intentionally open and expansive. “Allowing everyone to make sense of the material in their own way is especially important in design, which tends to be quite prescriptive,” says Grandoit-Šutka.
Contributed by Jezz Chung, Presumption Log number three, on the theme “Envisioning equity”
In agreement with Considerthe objective of freeing the field of design, there is freedom in the visual treatment of each subject. ‘Consider can sometimes appear like an academic journal, but we try to create a spectrum of structure and energy,” says Goteh. “There are very structured pieces that span six pages, blocks of text. But on the other hand, there are moments of energy, fun and drive that we believe are necessary to attract and bring anyone into this conversation, because Deem is not just for practitioners . There’s a level of progression and push from a visual standpoint that brings energy, especially in our documentary-style photography, to producing a moment of comfort and authenticity.
In its pages, Consider deftly blends interviews and profiles of designers, artists and collectives with deeper essays on cultural movements, historical paradigms and the creative status quo to uncover the layers surrounding topics such as gender, neurodiversity, race, politics and technology. Excerpt from the newspaper’s inaugural cover story – a conversation with writer and activist Adrienne Maree Brown about her 2019 book, Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Welfare – exploring the meaning of reconstruction in architecture, and the relationship between equity and reparation, with the Black Reconstruction Collective in issue three, there is a startling frankness and honesty that emerges. Forward-thinking, analytical and compelling, each issue serves as a beacon of how the creative community can move forward as a more informed and unified whole.
Stillwell concludes, “When we saw an opportunity where our voices weren’t represented, we wanted to design our path and create better conditions for others to be part of that journey.” Goteh adds: “Our perspective is not an expert perspective. We don’t tell you what the design should be. Really, each theme is a prompt and a question we ask ourselves. The magic is in exploring different perspectives that can add to a list of values and strategies to move this dialogue forward. §