Gillian Crampton Smith

This Volumes interview is with Gillian Crampton Smith who established the Computer Related Design programme at the Royal College of Art.

This insightful interview provides an insight into the design technologies of the late 1980’s and the early 1990’s that offered a platform and an opportunity for what would become one of the most defining interaction design cultures in the world.

An extract:

“In 1990 I moved to the Royal College of Art (RCA) and had a stroke of luck: there was a little program called Computer-related Design, which had grown out of half a dozen CAD students who had gotten into interface design. The rector, Jocelyn Stevens, suddenly said, ‘I want you to take it over’. It was exactly the kind of thing I had wanted to do for ten years!

I felt there was no reason a computer should be so physically ugly, and I could see that applying basic graphic design skills and knowledge could make them much easier to use. There was hardly anything we could show students, no good interaction design except the Macintosh. So we had to invent it. We thought the computer should be part of culture, like architecture or illustration, rich and complex. The aim was to bring quite ordinary design knowledge and skills to computing.”