Posts Tagged ‘first things first’

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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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 »