Archive for February, 2010

A little while ago, I posted my response to Ken Garland’s First Things First manifesto written in 1964, about how graphic designers need to be more conscious of projects they take on. Garland tried to push designers to use their powers for good, as opposed to evil; he defines “evil” as rampant consumerism.

My beef with Garland’s manifesto was:
1) It was based on speculation and not fact.
2) It was based in circular logic—designers needed to try and change society, yet society needed to change in order for designers to help it.

Thirty-six years later, design writer, Rick Poynor, was approached by Adbusters to write a contemporary version of Garland’s manifesto, aptly titled, First Things First 2000. Poynor’s new manifesto solves a few of the old one’s problems.

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There is a very cool post over at a blog called Design*Sponge on Art Nouveau monograms designed in 1908 by Paul Starke. The images on the post come from a book called Modern Monogramme by Starke. The images below have just been copied from the Design*Sponge post.

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Monograms have been around since medieval times. They were first used by craftsmen and guilds to mark their products—often times these products would be furniture, metal tools, etc… Nowadays, they are primarily used as logos for large companies, design firms, and often, an identity mark for the individual designer. See the Wikipedia page on monograms here. Continue Reading »

I am a designer, and not a painter. Or an illustrator for that matter. Well, I’m not trained as an illustrator, however, in this contemporary world of ours, I feel that designers are often called upon to fulfill the role of illustrator/painter, and vice versa as well. Many of the best posters I have seen have a combination of illustration with good use of type, or photo with type, or a combination of all three—concert posters, as well as posters for art exhibitions, galleries, and other artistic means fall heavily into this category. Likewise, many of the best design pieces I have seen at school use a combination of good concept, good layout/type/design, and good hand-done illustration. Often, painters create some of the most beautiful “graphic designs.” Continue Reading »

Ken Garland, a British graphic designer, states that graphic designers are being constantly pushed to work for advertising design, as opposed to any other type of design. He states that this is a problem because much of this advertising is for “trivial purposes,” or basically, insignificant products such as “cat food, stomach powders, detergent, hair restorer, striped toothpaste, aftershave lotion, before shave lotion, etc…” As the document is a manifesto, it by definition, is a call to arms for graphic designers to take up Garland’s cause. However, his cause is somewhat contradictory and undefined—I am not quite sure Garland knew what his cause was either. Continue Reading »