by Jim Rokos September 22, 2016
Jim was driving back from a family visit to Yorkshire after Christmas in 2015 and, tired of listening to music, had tuned into LBC radio. There was a 'phone-in about dyslexia, which he was very interested in, being dyslexic himself.
Dyslexic Design at designjunction. Silver winner of the London Design Award
Exhibition design by Ab Rogers Design. Photograph by Ruth Ward - 2016
However, all the callers were very negative about dyslexia, so Jim decided to curate an exhibition purely of work by dyslexic designers and artists, to illustrate the abilities that can come with the alternative processing difference.
There were several enormous pieces of luck, which made the exhibition such a success.
Deborah Spencer, Managing Director of designjunction immediately agreed to host the show, explaining:
"This is a subject matter very close to my heart. I had dyslexia growing up which led me down the path of art and design. In many ways dyslexia has defined me as a person. It is my absolute pleasure to support this project."
Deborah Spencer - SHOW DIRECTOR, DESIGNJUNCTION
Designjunction's PR team Caro Communications picked up on the show as their feature story and gained global press with Wired, CBC Radio, Darc, Design Week, Frame, Creative Review, Fast Company . . .
A journalist showed coverage of the show to environment designer Ab Rogers, who wrote to Jim offering to help with the show. With only eight weeks until the show would open and no budget, Ab agreed to design the show.
"Dyslexia actually helps me as a designer. It allows me to see things in three-dimensions and remember colours, conversations, tastes and smells with real accuracy."
Ab Rogers - ENVIRONMENT DESIGNER
Londonewcastle became involved when Jim was introduced to Rob Soning through Ab, who has been a friend since childhood. Rob, proud to be dyslexic, felt a real need to support Dyslexic Design and the positive message it was sending. Londonewcastle funded the show's material costs.
"We support Dyslexic Design because we recognise the unique foresight and talent that people with dyslexia bring to so many industries, we believe this should be celebrated not shunned. That is why we are so proud to be associated with this exhibition."
Robert Soning - CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, LONDONEWCASTLE
Jim discovered that many leading designers are dyslexic and invited thirteen to lend work for the exhibition.
Just a few of the designers
Bethan Laura Wood, Kristjana S Williams, Ab Rogers, Jim Rokos, Sebastian Bergne, Terence Woodgate RDI & Tiphaine Dugast. Photograph by Ruth Ward.
The show was hugely successful. Both dyslexics and 'lexics' were fascinated and the micro exhibition was always full. A school had flown over a class of children from Italy and Jim gave the a personal tour. Many visitors were moved and touched by the show's message. Several of the designers involved felt that the show had cleared up some things for them personally.
Dyslexic Design is a Silver Winner in the London Design Awards; category: Pop-
For more details, please see the show website: dyslexicdesign.co.uk
“I wouldn’t be able to do what I do if I wasn’t dyslexic,” says Jim Rokos. “I can play with shapes and do experiments in my head.”
- Simon Usborne for the Guardian
'Jim believes the way dyslexics process information can contribute to the development of an idiosyncratic design style.'
- Philippa Wyatt for the Design Council
'Jim Rokos thinks dyslexics are highly creative problem solvers who think in ways that make for killer designs.'
- Margaret Rhodes for WIRED
'In Rokos’s telling, designers with dyslexia are especially good at solving problems in unconventional ways.'
- John Brownlee for Fast Company
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