Episode 48 – Unpacking Nerd Culture

 
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In the 21st century, everyone has a specific niche that they’re very interested in that may have been against social norms in the past. However, this idea of nerd culture is now widely accepted with communities all over the world. How can understanding different nerd cultures and being part of one help us as designers?

Whether you’re a stamp collector or started building a collection of “Funko pops”, there are communities of people who are avid fans and follow the same ideas. Using online platforms and social media, it’s simple to find a group that share our interests.

One community that Tim is a part of is digital fabrication, specifically laser cutting using a machine from a company called Glowforge. His interest in laser cutting started in architecture school where he saw one for the first time in his life and learned how to use it to make architectural models. As a professional architect and product designer, Tim is now part of the Glowforge community where he shares products that he’s made on his laser cutter with others. He shares his tips, tricks, and ideas with others through their online forum and was the first spotlight feature on Glowforge. Slowly, he’s becoming an authority on the forum for using the Glowforge to cut and create leather products where he gets questions and provides answers and shares tutorials with the community.

Mike talks about the importance of nerd culture in our future as designers where people who are into a specific culture will be at higher level positions at companies that will need our design services. Being able to understand these cultures will help us connect with prospective clients, but also design for specific cultures. As designers, we can also be a larger part of these communities using our problem solving and creative skills. Perhaps a graphic designer who’s into Magic the Gathering will put together a compelling beginner’s guide poster to explain the game to newcomers and ease them into the community.

Learn more about the nerd culture from Mike and Tim’s perspective in this episode.


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PodcastMichael LaValley