For Kenya Hara, design begins with the comprehension of the unknown. The explosion of knowledge available to us today can be dangerous for a designer’s creativity. The concept of exformation, to which a chapter was already devoted in Designing Design, continues to preoccupy the Japanese designer. In contrast to information, exformation describes how little we really know and thus becomes the starting point for any type of design. Hara states: “What moves people’s hearts, in every case, is the unknown. Things that people already know don’t excite them.”
Based on a range of projects stemming from Kenya Hara’s teaching at the Musashino Art University, the book describes what exformation can look like in design practice and how this concept alters our classic understanding of information design. Following the path embarked on in Designing Design and its successor, White, Ex-formation continues to explore the void, absence and indeterminacy in contemporary design.
Each year, roughly a dozen students come together at the prestigious Musashino Art University, joining Hara in an attempt to make things unknown. Ex-formation presents their collective efforts, resulting in a book of incredibly beautiful, humorous and thought-provoking design and writing.