I have been given a brief that asks me to read through a number of statements relating to different aspects of graphic design, each statement questions the role of the communication designer from a different perspective, such as designer as author, designer as storyteller, designer as service provider and designer as advocate. Each passage is very different to the next, however I found one in particular relatable to me.
“Designers also trade in storytelling. The elements we must master are not the content narratives but the devices of the telling: typography, line, form, color, contrast, scale, and weight. We speak through our assignment, literally between the lines. The span of graphic design is not a history of concepts but of forms. Form has evolved dramatically from one year to the next, and suggests a profession that continually revises and reshapes the world through the way it is rendered. Stellar examples of graphic design, design that changes the way we look at the world, are often found in service of the most mundane content: an ad for ink, cigarettes, sparkplugs or machinery. Think of Piet Zwart’s catalogues for electrical cable; or the travel posters of Cassandre or Matter; or the New Wave work of Weingart, Greiman and Freidman; or the punk incitations of Jamie Reid, in which the manipulation of form has an essential, even transformative, meaning.”
Michael Rock On Designers, Authors, Readers and Users (2013)
The statement above stood out to me the most due to the fact that it highlights the importance of appreciating design in the most boring of places for the most boring of things like matchbox pictures or furniture instructions.
The purpose of design has changed over the decades; modern day design focus’ on the consumer, persuading them to purchase or buy into a product or idea, due to the fact that we live in a consumerist society. Advertising has become the most prominent aspect of graphic design that is consumed daily by the general population, and so it is no surprise that the need for visual communication has increased dramatically; essentially causing designers to lose the passion for the subject and regurgitating of ideas has become so common.
There has always been design movements that have been prominent throughout the history of creative arts, whereas in todays society it has become almost impossible to come up with a creative idea that has been done before by at least one other person. We now mimic other decades in many different disciplines and it seems as designers a load of ‘copycats’.