Monday, December 19, 2011

“… but I became a graphic designer instead”

Above is the image of a satirical and paradoxical ad published in Adbusters, 2001—the “Design Anarchy” issue, which became famous (or infamous) depending on one’s perspective. The ad proclaims that the next major movement in design is Design Anarchy. Interestingly, it seems that the ad is a reminder of the nature of graphic design today where some of the best designers have been able to merge art with design and design becomes integral with art. As the acclaimed graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister wrote in 2005 “… and a new generation [of designers] who manage to work with one foot in the art world and the other in the design world, like the young Swiss group Benzin and the American designers involved in the ‘Beautiful Losers’ exhibition, including Ryan McGinness and Shepard Fairey.” [1]

Whether it’s art and design, the common word for both is integrity. British designer Neville Brody has wise insight for designers these days: “If you have integrity, you say no to things. You must say no to things that are morally wrong. I wouldn’t work for a tobacco company, for example. But I also believe in trying to work closely with clients. Microsoft dominates ninety per cent of the computer market—but by working for them, I’m saying the war is over. I want to try and get them to humanize their process.”[2]

  1. Sagmeister, Stefan. Foreword. How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul. Author, Adrian Shaughnessy. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2005. 7. Print. 
  2. Ibid. Shaughnessy, Adrian. 29.

The ad copy reads:
I wanted to be an artist but I became a graphic designer instead*  
Movements in Design: Arts & Crafts Movement, 1890s; Art Nouveau, 1890-1910; Futurism, 1909; Plakatstil, 1917; De Stijl, 1917; The Bauhaus, 1919; Art Deco, 1920s; Constructivism, 1920s; Swiss Design, 1940; New York School, 1940s-50s; Push Pin Style, 1960s; Postmodern Design, 1980s; New Wave Typography, 1990s; Design Anarchy, 2000s; *set in 40 pt. Helvetica

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