Tag: selling stuff

A (lengthy) primer on Graphic Design

This transcript of a radio piece provides a nice little snapshot of the inner workings of a graphic designer’s mind, when it comes to how they think about their own profession.

Some quotes.

“Graphic design has been likened to a wine glass. When we drink wine we barely notice the glass it’s served in. It wouldn’t be true to say that we don’t care what glass we drink out of — we wouldn’t choose to drink a rare vintage out of a Tupperware mug, for example — but it’s the wine that matters, not the vessel it comes in.”

“For many observers and commentators, graphic design’s embeddedness in commercial culture makes it into one of the specious modern black arts, like spin, hype and branding. And it’s undoubtedly true that most graphic design is about selling things in a consumer society.”

“Most recognise the fundamental difference between artists and designers: artists create work that comes from an inner impulse. Or to put it another way, they write their own briefs. Graphic designers, on the other hand, respond to briefs supplied by others — they are reactive. To go back to our glass of wine — artists supply the wine, graphic designers supply the glass.”

I, for one, appreciate the work of graphic designers. They make it possible to judge an object by its appearance because their work ties an object to a particular culture. And I like that.