d4d lab

Reviewing the design document for the artisan project

Wednesday we had a 6 hour meeting at Cooperativa Xyaat in Señor. Among their many projects, Xyaat works in communitarian tourism which is focused on sharing modern Maya culture with others. A tour of Xyaat will include a storyteller (Don Abundio) who recounts his grandparents Caste War stories, learning to scrape henequen, and about natural medicines. We went to review the design style guide and some of the design materials with Marcos Canté.

He showed some design materials recently produced for their new network store in Tulum. I am not sure where these were made but he had forewarned Gaby that he was disappointed. Seeing the products – that must have been a huge understatement. Red text with white outlines. Super glossy paper and stretched photos. I think the worst was that their new logo was an illustration of a Maya woman in a huipil making tortillas. Yes – that’s modern Maya. All the more reason clients need to be empowered, more people need to learn how to design well, that everyone who has a computer is not a designer, and why the art, craft, and profession of design will not go away or suffer. The projects we work on are an attempt to empower people to get their message out and communicate their professionalism and motivation at the same time. What’s amazing about Marcos is that if you think you’re involved in so many things, he’s involved in more. President of a cooperative and a network of cooperatives, works on a project to bring organic produce from the milpas to market, well… a million other things.

We met with Marta from Tihosuco who is one of the artesans we’ve worked with in January. She makes conserves. They are part of a network of nine communities that want to bring their projects to market. Something got really lost in the communication between January and April and the name Mint had been working with was wrong. But they were in agreement to bring their products to market under one name with the products personalized through subtitling and signatures of each producer. She’s taking the materials back with her to Tihosuco and will discuss these with her colleagues. We’ll have a decision or comments soon. Her husband came with her and kindly pointed out that in contemporary Maya language, the word we are using for delicious (Hach) is spelled Jach. Not being a scholar of Maya, I deferred this decision to the clients (the four cooperative presidents and their many friends) who spent a while discussing this in December 2007. There are discussions still over the use of the new Maya orthography. As it turns out, he is more than an aficionado of Maya culture. We had a nice long lesson on writing and the numbering system. Here there is an obvious sense of pride in Maya culture.

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