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Graphic Design

Things, and other things

A piece courtesy of Dr Bjarnason about the manner by which designers describe themselves and their work. It’s interesting, but a little misleading when it equates designers (and I’m including filmmakers, advertisers etc) with other professionally qualified occupations:

As Clement Mok observed in 2003, designers are the only professionals who describe their work in media-specific terms. A surgeon says, “I heal people;” he doesn’t say, “I make cuts.” A lawyer says, “I prosecute people;” he doesn’t say, “I make legal documents.” And yet, designers say, “I make websites. I do print work. I’m in video.” We are so focused on the medium that we often lose sight of the conceptual goals that inform our overall design practice.

Which is fine, but I’d add two things:

One. Mok is cherry-picking when he says designers are the only professionals who do this. Solicitors, for example, describe what they do in terms of what Mok describes as ‘the medium’.

Two: Designers aren’t necessarily professionals, at least the way Mok assumes they are. One of the major concerns within design education at the moment is the relevance of a design degree, and the manner in which that is comparable with workplace-educated designers. It’s not a clear-cut situation, and if Mok is going to assume that a qualification assumes professional status, then he’s underestimating the complexities of the field, and the issue.

And three: assuming that there’s something rarified about being a professional is a trifle elitist. I’ve got nothing against elitism in some areas (see my remarks about Andrew Keen elsewhere on the web), but here, I’m not so sure.

However, that’s nitpicking, and the rest of the piece, which discusses the variety of work and practice designers either do, or don’t evolve into producing. Worth a look, even if I think Mok’s a bit of a sound-bite.

And while I’m here, I’m going to turn into Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo (a considerable feat, as I’m sure you’d agree) and say hello to Dominic Grant. It’s not Jason Isaacs and whoever else Kermode says hello to, but as I’m apparently Dom’s favourite blogger, then I thought I’d say hi. If anyone else wants a hello on a Friday afternoon, then write in and let me know. It helps if you’re famous, naturally.

Elsewhere, while listening to Radio 5 this afternoon, I heard Ian Hislop give the first sensible reaction to the teddy-bear/thin-skinned religion/absurd reaction story this week. I’m not going to repeat it here, as you ought to listen to the interview again (and I didn’t write it down, so I’d only mis-quote him), but it’s as accurate and acerbic as you’d expect from a satirist of Hislop’s pedigree. And it puts the rest of the press to shame. Or exposes them as cowards.

And that’s it for now. Got some reading to do, and then back to writing the answer to myself that I posed last Saturday.


One comment for “Things, and other things”

  1. Where is the link to this hislopinterview? I’d like to hear it!

    Posted by mongo | December 2, 2007, 2:06 am

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