"I'll be a screen printer," says Ben Barry, a designer at Facebook.
Facebook is about as far as it gets from screenprinting, unless you count press operators and screenmakers checking their updates every 5 minutes in the middle of a job. Digital vs. screenprinting is one thing, but Facebook…. That’s a whole other media dimension away from print. Last year, an ad appeared from Facebook headquarters, it showed a person washing out a screen in a print studio. This piqued my interest, and through some friends I was able to get in contact with Ben Barry, a designer at Facebook, who built and heads up their Analog Research Lab, buried deep in the bowels of the company that has literally changed our world and the way we communicate.
The Facebook Analog Research Laboratory is a screenprinting studio and workshop at Facebook. The primary goal and use of the space is to create and develop projects for internal culture at the company.
The main collaborators in the lab (Ben, Everett Katigbak and Tim Belonax) all studied design and are employed as designers. They also just happen to be printers as well, and have a love for making things. The lab started pretty organically as a way for them to put this creative energy back into the company they're so passionate about.
I asked Ben to explain how the screenprinting and internet based social media, two completely different worlds, somehow come together?
“I think it's a mistake to see them as two separate worlds,” said Ben. “Especially two at odds with one another. Both are about communicating information and connecting people to ideas and each other. These are basic human needs regardless of medium. To me both internet and print have a role to play in the future. It's important to recognize when it's appropriate to use each media. The internet is obviously superior at information distribution, especially when it's temporal in nature.”
“Because it's less efficient and more labor intensive printing should be thought of less as a mechanism for information distribution, and more as a way to elevate certain ideas or content in their importance. I think people subconsciously sense the craftsmanship and quality in every object they encounter. Producing high quality printed material in a day and age when it isn't the most efficient way to communicate is a signal of how much someone cares about an idea.”
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