Month: December 2014

First Things First 2000 a design manifesto

First Things First 2000
a design manifesto

manifesto published jointly by 33 signatories in:
Adbusters, the AIGA journal, Blueprint, Emigre, Eye, Form, Items
fall 1999 / spring 2000

We, the undersigned, are graphic designers, art directors and visual communicators who have been raised in a world in which the techniques and apparatus of advertising have persistently been presented to us as the most lucrative, effective and desirable use of our talents. Many design teachers and mentors promote this belief; the market rewards it; a tide of books and publications reinforces it.

Encouraged in this direction, designers then apply their skill and imagination to sell dog biscuits, designer coffee, diamonds, detergents, hair gel, cigarettes, credit cards, sneakers, butt toners, light beer and heavy-duty recreational vehicles. Commercial work has always paid the bills, but many graphic designers have now let it become, in large measure, what graphic designers do. This, in turn, is how the world perceives design. The profession’s time and energy is used up manufacturing demand for things that are inessential at best.

Many of us have grown increasingly uncomfortable with this view of design. Designers who devote their efforts primarily to advertising, marketing and brand development are supporting, and implicitly endorsing, a mental environment so saturated with commercial messages that it is changing the very way citizen-consumers speak, think, feel, respond and interact. To some extent we are all helping draft a reductive and immeasurably harmful code of public discourse.

There are pursuits more worthy of our problem-solving skills. Unprecedented environmental, social and cultural crises demand our attention. Many cultural interventions, social marketing campaigns, books, magazines, exhibitions, educational tools, television programs, films, charitable causes and other information design projects urgently require our expertise and help.

We propose a reversal of priorities in favor of more useful, lasting and democratic forms of communication – a mindshift away from product marketing and toward the exploration and production of a new kind of meaning. The scope of debate is shrinking; it must expand. Consumerism is running uncontested; it must be challenged by other perspectives expressed, in part, through the visual languages and resources of design.

In 1964, 22 visual communicators signed the original call for our skills to be put to worthwhile use. With the explosive growth of global commercial culture, their message has only grown more urgent. Today, we renew their manifesto in expectation that no more decades will pass before it is taken to heart.
signed:

Jonathan Barnbrook
Nick Bell
Andrew Blauvelt
Hans Bockting
Irma Boom
Sheila Levrant de Bretteville
Max Bruinsma
Siân Cook
Linda van Deursen
Chris Dixon
William Drenttel
Gert Dumbar
Simon Esterson
Vince Frost
Ken Garland
Milton Glaser
Jessica Helfand
Steven Heller
Andrew Howard
Tibor Kalman
Jeffery Keedy
Zuzana Licko
Ellen Lupton
Katherine McCoy
Armand Mevis
J. Abbott Miller
Rick Poynor
Lucienne Roberts
Erik Spiekermann
Jan van Toorn
Teal Triggs
Rudy VanderLans
Bob Wilkinson

First Things First 1964 a manifesto

First Things First 1964
a manifesto

We, the undersigned, are graphic designers, photographers and students who have been brought up in a world in which the techniques and apparatus of advertising have persistently been presented to us as the most lucrative, effective and desirable means of using our talents. We have been bombarded with publications devoted to this belief, applauding the work of those who have flogged their skill and imagination to sell such things as: cat food, stomach powders, detergent, hair restorer, striped toothpaste, aftershave lotion, beforeshave lotion, slimming diets, fattening diets, deodorants, fizzy water, cigarettes, roll-ons, pull-ons and slip-ons.

By far the greatest effort of those working in the advertising industry are wasted on these trivial purposes, which contribute little or nothing to our national prosperity.

In common with an increasing numer of the general public, we have reached a saturation point at which the high pitched scream of consumer selling is no more than sheer noise. We think that there are other things more worth using our skill and experience on. There are signs for streets and buildings, books and periodicals, catalogues, instructional manuals, industrial photography, educational aids, films, television features, scientific and industrial publications and all the other media through which we promote our trade, our education, our culture and our greater awareness of the world.

We do not advocate the abolition of high pressure consumer advertising: this is not feasible. Nor do we want to take any of the fun out of life. But we are proposing a reversal of priorities in favour of the more useful and more lasting forms of communication. We hope that our society will tire of gimmick merchants, status salesmen and hidden persuaders, and that the prior call on our skills will be for worthwhile purposes. With this in mind we propose to share our experience and opinions, and to make them available to colleagues, students and others who may be interested.

signed:

Edward Wright
Geoffrey White
William Slack
Caroline Rawlence
Ian McLaren
Sam Lambert
Ivor Kamlish
Gerald Jones
Bernard Higton
Brian Grimbly
John Garner
Ken Garland
Anthony Froshaug
Robin Fior
Germano Facetti
Ivan Dodd
Harriet Crowder
Anthony Clift
Gerry Cinamon
Robert Chapman
Ray Carpenter
Ken Briggs

Graphic Designers of the 1950’s to 1970’s

Paul Rand
Well known for his timeless and iconic logos. His work illustrates how some logos can withstand the test of time. If you’d like some more insights into Rand’s thoughts on design watch this supplemental video.

Paul Rand Logos

George Lois
George Lois is the mastermind behind a number of timeless advertising campaigns, logo designs, and design concepts. Many of the pieces in this gallery contain supplemental commentary.

George Lois Ad

Herb Lubalin
Herb Lubalin puts an emphasis on concept in his logo work. In addition to his design work, Lubalin is also known for his typefaces, including Avant Garde.

Lubalin Logos

Milton Glaser
Known for the iconic  “I Love NY” logo. A celebrated designer whose work includes logos, magazines, packaging, and more.

Milton Logo

Importance of a strong portfolio and how to strengthen it

As a Graphic Design student you may ask yourself pressing questions such as “How do I go about finding a job?” Students close to graduation often have no design experience beyond the academic so how do you find a job in a creative field?  Everyone has to start somewhere, and successfully defining that starting point is key.

The Portfolio

The importance of the portfolio cannot be stressed enough; it is a showcase of the creative professional’s ability. This applies to all creative professionals in the visual arts, from freelancers to in-house designers.

The resume is a list of skills, but the portfolio demonstrates these skills. Professionalism in a portfolio is an absolute must: but what does this mean?

Steps Towards a Stronger Portfolio

Consider the following when crafting a plan for an initial portfolio or for a portfolio review:

  • All portfolio pieces should be professionally presented, both individually and collectively. This means clear, crisp imagery that highlights the work. Do not allow low resolution imagery, visible errors, or poor photography distract from the work.
  • Portfolio pieces should be recent and relevant to the creative professional’s focus. If a creative professional is pursuing a web design position, package design examples are not going to exhibit the proficiency that the employer or client is looking for. There is nothing wrong with strategically preparing a portfolio; this is the professional’s opportunity to show that they’re a good fit.
  • Student work is an acceptable inclusion, but it should be treated as a professional piece. This may mean refining work beyond the classroom.
  • Self-initiated projects are also an acceptable portfolio addition. This is a great opportunity to showcase your creative potential, ideas, and execution.
  • Note that a portfolio is not necessarily a timeline of work. It is a showcase of your best work, not of all your work.
  • Include design narratives, briefly explaining the project (e.g., dimensions, date, any outside resources). Process is often important.
  • Consider the most appropriate delivery method for the applicable creative focus. A website? A PDF? A printed portfolio?

The Next Steps

After fine tuning the portfolio and branding one’s resume, it’s time to start applying. This can vary, depending on career goals. It can include finding an agent, applying to live job listings, and searching for clients.

Think from the employer or client’s perspective. Would you hire a professional with a lackluster portfolio? What would you want to see? It’s important to view one’s work without rose tinted glasses; there is always room for improvement. Ask other creative professionals for honest opinions, and take their criticism seriously. Improvement is a strong step towards professional advancement.