The Post-Postmodernism Issue

I, Designer

It's the way we design that traps us.
Photo by Rob Hogg
Photo by Rob Hogg
Design is increasingly defined commercially. Not just because the most creative minds of our generation are devoting their talents to shifting consumer goods from shelves but in the very way we design. We are led to believe that we simply cannot design without the latest proprietary software, which is packaged and marketed with brand identities more closely aligned with religious visions or Platonic ideals than with the properties it possesses. The filters and tools of the dominant software have seemingly eclipsed ideas, creative visions, radically simple aesthetics and spontaneous, free, entirely original visual concepts. Keyboards and shortcuts have replaced the mind and soul of the designer. Without the latest software, expensive versions of which are released at regular intervals, we would not be able to design. Without the plug-ins, updates and add-ons, we would be left behind.

We’ve become so addicted to the agility and speed that these ever-improving tools have given us that – like a juiced-up athlete – we’ve lost our confidence. We’ve forgotten who we are and what we used to achieve without half the aid we now rely on.

It’s not just the content we’re designing: many of us know deep down that we are part of the problem, the fuel in the engine of consumer capitalism. It’s the way we now design that traps us.

Jonty Langley

64 comments on the article “I, Designer”

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Red Fox

Last time I checked we are all trapped. Trapped by the gravity of the earth, by weight of our bodies, the limits of our cognition. Trappings reveal paradoxes and such things are always part of existence. Some Environmentalists drive hybrid cars, which still pollute, although less I suppose. Some Communists buy food, which entails interaction with the market economy. This designers dread over the loss of authenticity is actually a moment of great enlightenment, it reveals the inherent mis-belief that some whole uncorrupted self once existed, or that in some past things were all harmonious. Such nostalgia is a lie rooted in the tendency to believe one is somehow outside the system or the current logic of domination. The entire world is under the domination of commercialization, no one escapes with there hands clean. To be modern, is to accept these paradoxes, to use them, to combine and re-create ever newer paradoxes, ad infinite. Only when one fully begins to witness there identification with a particular logic of domination, does one begin to awaken to the ways in which they can alter and transform that logic. Those individuals closest to creating and distributing design are the most capable of transforming its commercialization and tendencies. To work for a system and to be against it as well, is more authentic than to somehow stand on the imaginary outside and pretend one is pure and untainted.

Red Fox

Last time I checked we are all trapped. Trapped by the gravity of the earth, by weight of our bodies, the limits of our cognition. Trappings reveal paradoxes and such things are always part of existence. Some Environmentalists drive hybrid cars, which still pollute, although less I suppose. Some Communists buy food, which entails interaction with the market economy. This designers dread over the loss of authenticity is actually a moment of great enlightenment, it reveals the inherent mis-belief that some whole uncorrupted self once existed, or that in some past things were all harmonious. Such nostalgia is a lie rooted in the tendency to believe one is somehow outside the system or the current logic of domination. The entire world is under the domination of commercialization, no one escapes with there hands clean. To be modern, is to accept these paradoxes, to use them, to combine and re-create ever newer paradoxes, ad infinite. Only when one fully begins to witness there identification with a particular logic of domination, does one begin to awaken to the ways in which they can alter and transform that logic. Those individuals closest to creating and distributing design are the most capable of transforming its commercialization and tendencies. To work for a system and to be against it as well, is more authentic than to somehow stand on the imaginary outside and pretend one is pure and untainted.

Anonymous

Well, hey, if we're going to complain about mistakes in other people's comments - how about a few less periods?

Anonymous

Well, hey, if we're going to complain about mistakes in other people's comments - how about a few less periods?

Anonymous

It's 100% true. The question is: who is going to give up all of the tech? Most people may have the vision to make a break, but won't do it, because they could lose their job, etc - basically they are in bed with the system, how are they going to get out? The awareness is great, and I agree with the article; but what would be helpful, would be some tips or a guide on how people in the trapped system can get out.

Anonymous

It's 100% true. The question is: who is going to give up all of the tech? Most people may have the vision to make a break, but won't do it, because they could lose their job, etc - basically they are in bed with the system, how are they going to get out? The awareness is great, and I agree with the article; but what would be helpful, would be some tips or a guide on how people in the trapped system can get out.

daniel bennett

I don't think so at all , design will always have scary phases of mixed media , computer generated art , typography and more. Graphics has always been a trapped subject anyway in-between advertising and art, selling things and making them look good, one completely trapped and the other free.

Wouldn't you agree?

daniel bennett

I don't think so at all , design will always have scary phases of mixed media , computer generated art , typography and more. Graphics has always been a trapped subject anyway in-between advertising and art, selling things and making them look good, one completely trapped and the other free.

Wouldn't you agree?

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