The Haul Earth Ledger | From Consumer Culture to Maker Culture

Co-authored by Pedro Gil Farias | Project page:

We want something when we don’t have it;
We don’t take care of it when we have it;
We only miss it when it’s gone.

These three principles explain both our urge for over-consumption, our careless, mostly unilateral, relationship to the environment and our passivity towards climate degradation. What if in the future, the days that now mark holidays celebrating consumer culture (aka Black Friday, Christmas, Cyber Monday, Singles day, etc.), were still celebrated but for different reasons?

How might we create a critique of consumer culture by emphasizing the culture…

I’ve been trying to write this debrief of my experience at Quicksand Design Studio for a good five or six months. It’s been a grueling process to both reflect and recall while actively seeking new employment and to “reinvent” myself. However it has undeniably helped me gain clarity on my current shortcomings (which has only fueled my impatience) and put a few things in perspective. I am aware this is a somewhat generic and cryptic start but I hope you can find some value for yourself in this blog-diary-debrief of a document.

In this text you will find three main…

Design sprints are a lot like particle accelerators. You get a handful of interesting profiles in a room, throw in some trends or insights from your research, and hope to get your mind blown. Or at least that is the intent. However as many might recognize, the process is often closer to an arduous hurdling race than a frictionless whooshing of subatomic particles.

What remains true across both analogies is the fact that design sprints require large quantities of energy, a safe space for explosive (creative?) effervescence and a keen eye for nuanced and sometimes seemingly imperceptible insights.

Over the…

Since last Monday, seven days ago, I’ve been trying to become a functioning Delhi resident.

This has made this week an especially eventful one during which everything that I’ve seen, I’ve experienced simultaneously as a tourist and as an aspiring resident. It’s meant trying to explore the city with an open mind, wandering from corner to corner to see as much of the city as possible while also finding my bearings in my future neighborhood of Marviya Nagar.

That being said, I’ve never really been good at being a tourist and the flaneur-ism AKA wanderous-nonsense lasted all of three or…

The other day I was invited by a friend and colleague of mine, Fernando Olmedo, to run a design research workshop in his class. The workshop was designed to introduce his students who were attending the school’s Entertainment Design track (visual development for animation, film and game design) to qualitative interview methodologies in order to help them craft original stories.

Skip to the end to see some of the results!

Fernando’s class was already a research class which made things easier. In his course, he would, and still does, challenge his students to explore how narratives are structured and to…

Known for its kitsch aesthetic of elongated, distressed lettering, the typeface Papyrus never quite seemed to find a place in the hearts and minds of the design intelligentsia. Oblivious to the haters and the general push back it may have found online it has persevered over the past couple decades to become somewhat of an infamous 21st century celebrity.

It’s become so ubiquitous that it can now be found on a wide array of supports from store signage, to food labels, to video titles. With an increasing amount of alternatives though, it’s unclear how long it will last… So before…

Making sense of images posted on social media is something we, as human media consumers, may sometimes take for granted. But if there’s one thing the recent hype around deep learning has shown, it is just how challenging of a skill this is for machines to pick up. Nonetheless considerable effort is being put into the development of such technology. Some resulting in whimsical psychedelic visuals, others in impressive list-making software that can recognize, with little to no context, the presence of a baby or animal in the photo.

Results from NIPS, an AI that uses image segmentation.

Practically speaking however, a lot of information still falls through the…

Here we are, in a snowy forest at the heart of the action. Around us is a confusing amalgam of ballet and an explosion-heavy wack-a-mole game is under way. In it, the protagonists twirl and hurl at winter-camouflaged enemies. The whole tableau, although a bit grotesque, is filled with intricately designed contraptions: helmets, weapons and vehicles all implying a not so distant future.

Before long, the superheroes return to HQ for a debrief.

They’re still dressed in their carefully crafted suits, in an equally meticulously crafted ship interior. The suits, seats, windows and interfaces all share a unified blue-grey-neo-futuristic-mystic-vibe. Their…

This book is a collection of essays that loosely drift from artist to artist, process to process, to see how each of them deals with the notion of (re)appropriation either of their work or through their work or loss of their work.

Each text was a beautiful occasion to discover new artists, suggested by teachers, families, friends who knew about my project. Above all each text has come to greatly influence my own process as a producer of stuff, maker of things and imaginaries.


Hugo Pilate

Design researcher trying to make sense of the world we’ve built for ourselves.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store