Sunday, March 8, 2009

Your turn #7

Below find my Design Manifesto (sent to MAP MAGAZINE just in time for ART/BASEL 08 but never published because of the bank meltdown) which has a lot to do with our discussion last Thursday. What are your thoughts on what design is and should do? This Thursday I'll lecture on Expressionism, Constructivism, De Stijl & BAUHAUS.

19 comments:

victoria said...

I have to admit, I had to read this over twice because I kept getting distracted by "de$$ign." After I got past the word, I was intrigued by de$$ign's concept of using design to make a profit. I thought to myself, is that so terrible, to use certain principles of design to make a profit? Some may call it selling out, but isn't it just being practical? Sure, those "design shows" on HGTV are often tacky and uninspiring, but can we deny them the chance to take a stab at design? Who are we to tell the world what design can and can't be used for?

The statement "there should be more women designers" also caught my attention. Though I've heard of a few, the fact is design is still a male-dominated realm. I wonder if that is pure coincidence or if it is revealing lingering traces of sexism in our working world. I am sure it is not due to a lack of talent or competence. I do agree, there should be more women designers in the design world, if only to give us the gift of variety. Clearly, women see the world differently than men, so it is accurate to say that female designers would have distinct perceptions of design. This would help broaden our design world, and our de$$ign world. That word is still distracting me, I don't think I will type it again.

A.T. said...

Is that so terrible, to use certain principles of design to make a profit?

Of course not. By De$$ign I mean a late-Capitalist practice of ostensive short-termism and consummerism. In our present context, think of $$ubprime Mortgage

Kara D said...

I agree with your point that countries like the United States are guzzling the world's resources and we are trapped in a viscous cycle, but I don't think that design is to blame. That would be like saying that language is at fault when people have disagreements and yell at each other. Hate speech cannot be pinned on language just like commercialism cannot be pinned on design. Design is a tool to communicate and it makes no sense to me to blame "de$$ign" when someone uses it to communicate something you disagree with. That would be like blaming the color red for being late to work because you got stuck at a red light. Additionally, some of the products of the "Bilbao Effect" are gorgeous pieces of art work. Gaudí's buildings are a triumph of Spanish architecture--not superfluous gimmicks. I think that the leaders of the arts and crafts movement would cherish his work. Design is not to blame for the commercialism and capitalism of today's global market.

Nicky said...

I agree with Kara in that design is not to blame for consumerism and the overwhelming form of commercialized capitalism that we live with today. Personally, I think that design, especially good design, is a tool for stimulating minds and inspiring people. I know that when I see a great ad, or creative packaging, I say to myself "wow, that's really innovative." It fosters creativity and conversation about the product or the issue.

Without design we would be essentially living in a cookie cutter society, which would not only be boring but would halt any kind of evolution, advancement, invention, or creation.

I agree with Victoria, the "de$$ign" made it quite difficult to get through the article.

Lizzy said...

I believe that design serves many purposes, and there are also many different approaches to design. Therefore, I would think that the best designers are those that fully understand their product and their goal.
Design should cater to the society and environment it is surrounded by. For example, I have never heard of The LifeStraw which may be because I do not live in a developing country where it is most prevalent. Not only do I think it is a great development, The LifeStraw fuses design and purpose into a compact, practical, helpful product desired by many cultures.
These days, with our concern for the environment, design and the purpose of design has been heavily impacted. Now, many people are becoming more and more attracted to environmentally friendly products like hybrid cars and water bottles. I think this aspect of modern design is both appealing and beneficial.

A.T. said...

Design is a tool to communicate and it makes no sense to me to blame "de$$ign" when someone uses it to communicate something you disagree with.

Agree, Kara. The communication aspect of De$$ign -as I see it- is written all over it: caters specific values: Anthropocentric, wasteful environmentally problematic, aesthetic over ethical, class oriented, socially disengaged, phallocentric, etc.

Personally, I think that design, especially good design, is a tool for stimulating minds and inspiring people.

What's "good" design? And for whom? That's exactly what we're trying to elucidate. As per de$$ign, which seems to raise eyebrows, take a look at my footnote #1.

BTW, nice discussion.

Michelle Siegel said...

I think that design serves many purposes especially considering that it is a necessary component in just about everything we use and buy. I found Barry Bergdoll’s question very interesting: about what the explosion of design represents, if it is “a sophisticated technique of marketing more than the horizons of new knowledge?”. Personally I believe that it doesn’t have to be one or the other, I think it applies to both. In order to market a product, good design is crucial to gain the attention of buyers. However, in the process, designers are inspired by others work and are constantly striving to create new aesthetics to adapt to and further the trends of the time. It is also obvious to me that “few professions in the post-industrialized world have grown in terms of economic presence and cultural import as de$$ign has in the past decade”. With the overwhelming amount of products available on the shelves and the constant overload of images seen in the media everyday our society has become so visual that the competition for viewers is staggering.

Ryan Eckert said...

Today business’ main concern is about making profit. In one of my portfolio classes, the teacher will always remind us that an employer only cares if you can make money, save money, or save time. I feel that that they way people design today fits to this saying. I’m really going to miss school because the freedom we have to design as students doesn’t come by too often. Pushing the envelope becomes a hard task once you get to the real world. New exciting ideas are always welcomed but almost never used because they want to stick to the norm of “what sells”. If it were my way I would always want to go beyond the boundaries set and come up with designs with more risk.

I also think that some of the shows dealing with design are tolerable. There are some people on these shows that have a good sense for design and the TV world commercializes on their talents and makes it into something they feel will have a better profit. So if anyone is to blame it’s “the man.”

Emily said...

I agree with Kara that design cannot be to blame completely. However, I do think it has a big influence on consumerism and capitalism. It is entirely design that consumerism is based on, if deign were not an issue, we would not be extravagantly buying the more luxurious, expensive cars, or other products with the most appealing designs. It is true that design is not the entire cause for consumerism, especially in this economy where people are cutting back. However, the importance of design still proves true when the struggling companies are continually changing their product designs during these tough times. Updating the aesthetics increases sales, and so although design may not be directly to blame, it is nonetheless very much interrelated. This is turn supports Ryan’s comment regarding making profits. Of course, design is about making profits…explained by the chicken discussion in class. Everything is about making profits, and it is interesting how brainwashed we all are to only care about the design, and companies are aware of this and can thus formulate a design with a goal to sell to the unaware consumer.

Taylor Palmer said...

Although this may sound blindly optimistic, I frown upon the idea that de$$ign is merely a lucrative conspiracy that seeks to “execute urban environments”. While I will agree that the field of design is bound to have its fair number of moneygrubbers, I find it undeserving to claim that all designers share this same incentive. To blame is simply to surrender responsibility for something we are all accountable for.

Here’s how I see it. I find that the fundamental ideals upon which the “American Dream” was founded is the greatest poison of all. The pursuit of life, liberty and happiness is indisputably coupled with the pursuit of material prosperity. The insatiability of our so-called dream is the “galvanizing force behind de$$ign’s vicious cycle of manufacture, distribution and consumption”, not design itself. We rob the designer of credibility, moral integrity and originality by morphing what constitutes the “art of design” into a “sophisticated marketing technique”.

So my underlying is... Why this urge to scorn the “undeniable clout…global mystique…extraordinary seduction [and] libidinal enchantment” that makes up the essence of design?

Taylor Palmer said...

underlying question*

Tia said...

Like several people have commented, "de$$ign" made it difficult to get through this article in one read, however I found several things that I both agreed with and disagreed with. I think it is a wonderful part of design that it has the capacity to be profitable. As long as design is being used to promote a product that is not misleading or misguiding the prospective consumer, the designed should feel free to design the product as they wish. Design should enhance the product, layout, or whatever the particular design is to appeal to the designated audience. I also agree with the idea that design should be "proactive and environmentally committed." We are doing a project about sustainable graphic design in my 391 design class and I feel that we are at point where global warming is a huge concern for all people, especially graphic designers and it is up to us to be environmentally sound.
I disagree with the idea that graphic design should only be used to express need as opposed to desire. Design is used in all fields whether it is the design of a booklet describing the precautions to take during a pregnancy or the design of a huge billboard in Times Square. It should not be limited to needs and if it is things such as McDonalds, American Eagle, or even University of Miami, would not have a design that makes it distinct from other things and would not be marketable. Mcdonalds, American Eagle and education from UM are all desires, does this mean they should not be accompanied by a design to make them more marketable?
Design is a huge part of the global economy and I dont believe that it should be limited due to the idea that it is the "key to post- capitalist consumption"

Ashley said...

In my opinion design is so vast that a single sentence or paragraph can’t explain it. Design can be seen in everything and anything. Although design has become a vicious cycle in our world, imagine a world without design. Things would be rather boring and simple. Everything would be the same or similar, no one or certain thing could standout. Without design people would not be able to make a statement. I think design should continue to allow people to advance and learn. After all most positive things like design have to have some negative aspect. In the end design is something we came up with and it has benefited our world, so if we use it for negative purposes its societies fault as a whole.

Lauren said...

In my opinion Design could be anything you want it to be and it should serve the purpose you want it to serve whether it be a chair or a useless sculpture. To me it really doesnt make a difference whether people are trying to use design to turn a profit. If somebody is designing something, and the customer wants to buy it, then good for the designer...it has served its purpose. Nowadays we are seeing more and more de$$ign and I think that will only serve to inspire artists to look at things from a different perspective and produce more varied work. At least the awareness of design is out there in the public eye instead of in the dark where only limited subcultures can expirience it. But even so, design has always been out there for us to see it we just dont look at it as design: plastic surgery, clothes, music, tv it is all design...now theyre just making us feel like we are designing our own things. The key is not to let them trick us into thinking we have bought what we like when really its just what theyve programmed us to like....hope that made sense hehe

Emily said...

Deisgn as we se it on products today was greatly influenced by Piet Mondrian, and his De Stijl movement. When I first saw his work in this blog I could only think about Brian Curtis’s slogan in Art101, “hail Mondrian.” His de stijl paintings of horizontal and vertical lines, although minimal was very important in the art world, influencing art forms from typefaces, to furniture, architecture, and painting. But then I thought about how the De Stijl movement had an influence on graphic design. De Stijl was a sort of purification of art with just simple lines and primary colors. Therefore revolutionizing art with its effective principles of simplicity. This simplicity is seen everywhere design markets today. Usually, it is the more simple and straightforward logo that is the most visually appealing to the consumer, such as the nike swoosh. Although not a series of verticals and horizontals, it is aesthetically pure and simple.

Magdalena said...

Well, it is definitely an interesting comment. Of course design changes over the time like everything else. You say De$$ign is bad and we need to change it back to design. Well, I think that they can co-exist. Design for the sake of art itself following the rules that the Arts and Cratfs movement set. However De$$ign has its purpose as well. It's a tool that has been used for advertising, marketing, promotion, etc. We cannot eliminate it simply because it is tied to our politics, economy, so important these days money, and so on. We want to make money, we make a product and we want to sell it. In order to do that we need to advertise, and that involves design. We cannot just say we want design to be design, and not become De$$ign, because it is impossible. Maybe at the time that Arts and Crafts movement occured they did not have such a need and design was a pure art, but now it is different. Time has changed and the market has changed, that's why design has changed as well, like everything else did. I guess advertising design should not be counted as art, and that's completely fine, but it still is design and will be, and we can't prevent it. One more thing that i found interesting is the comment about women not being in the industry. I thought that it acually was female dominated. I tried to find some stats about it but could not get any. Anyway, in my opinion both design and De$$ign can live together and not really interfere with each other.

Elysa D. Batista said...

Design is the shape, color, material, size and execution of anything. It’s an open-ended question that will have several definitions differing from person to person based on personality and taste. It can evoke feelings, or lack any. It has the power to influence a generation, describe a culture, and impact our environment. Design should make a statement. It should be a way of self-expression (whether emotional or opinion.) I also think that it should be useful as well as serve an aesthetic purpose.
It seems that good design is at times seamless while bad design stands out. Design should be invisible, not in that it goes unnoticed, but balanced (not too heavy, light, or visibly strange in composition.) I think that design should make life easier while at the same time it should not solely rely on what others want, but should still contain a kernel of truth to oneself, and ones design style. Design, as in any other art form, is in the eye of the beholder (one person’s discarded kitsch can be found in another’s collection). I think that as graphic design artist’s our ideas of what design is and should do shows through in our work. Each project is unique and different, yet is still a reflection of our stylistic beliefs.
In the words of the departed James Brown "This is a man's world...", yes times are changing and women currently outnumber men in the college classroom, but the truth is men are still more likely to earn more and be hired first even if there is a female counterpart with the same qualifications. It's just the way our society is structured, but little by little, we can hope that things even out.

Annika said...

During our discussion in class last week, particularly that about the size of chickens that the public tends to prefer when shopping, I really began thinking about what design is to me. I had never really considered the size of a food product to be designed, but it completely makes sense, particularly in light of how modern society prefers things to be in extremes, from large breasts (altered or not) to extremely narrow waists (altered or not). Consumerism can't be blamed upon design qualities or vice versa, but there is a connection between the two, no matter how subtle. I mean, the entire point of advertising is to promote consumerism in a visually pleasing way.

I too find it interesting about the gender differences within the realm of design. In so many ways, it is stereotyped that creative functions are feminine and men involved in them couldn't possibly be heterosexual. But in design, there really are more men than women and surely not all of them are homosexual... just further proving gender stereotypes to be overall incorrect (Not really related to how design works, but I thought that was interesting nonetheless).

pais said...

I agree. Once the chicken comment arose i realized that everything is design. Since last class, i have been on and off thinking during the week how the way my table is built is design, how the carving in the wood of my bed is design, even the way my carpet feels and the length is design. In actuality, everything that is around us that we can see and touch is some kind of design, whether it is designed by man or an unknown force. I believe that the statement in the manifesto is true, that design is used for marketing purposes of course. Design is what makes people want to buy things, package design is linked to marketing and advertising.
Design sells.

Design can have a positive effect on people and i think that if people advertise in a smart way it can benefit humanity. It also works in the adverse way however because if something that is negative is marketed in a positive way it can be misleading..(all of the "natural" foods that are really loaded with MSG and sketchy chemicals)

Design is really what makes up everything that is around us and the POWER of design is very intense.