Category Archives: Research

First Things First Manifesto 2014

EYE-Mag-FTFM_issue33Eye Magazine
Eye, #33, Autumn 1999
http://www.eyemagazine.com/feature/article/first-things-first-manifesto-2000

••• — — — •••

First Things First Manifesto 2000

Manifesto

Thirty-three visual communicators renew the 1964 call for a change of priorities

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 programmes, films, charitable causes and other information design projects urgently require our expertise and help.

We propose a reversal of priorities in favour 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.

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
and John P. Corrigan (added post-publication)

first-things-first-manifesto-1964

Background

Last year the Canadian magazine Adbusters took the unusual step of reprinting a manifesto, ‘First Things First’, written 35 years ago in London by Ken Garland and signed by 21 other visual communicators. As it turned out, Garland knew nothing about this renewed interest in his call for a ‘reversal of priorities in favour of the more useful and more lasting forms of communication.’ Adbusters had come across the manifesto in a back issue of Eye (see ‘There is such a thing as society’ by Andrew Howard, Eye no. 13 vol. 4) and felt that its sentiments had become ‘more, rather than less relevant’ today.

After that, things started to move. Kalle Lasn, editor of Adbusters, showed the issue with ‘First Things First’ to the late Tibor Kalman, who said: ‘We should do this now. ‘They met Ken Garland himself at their Vancouver HQ. Little by little the idea of a new version of ‘First Things First’, updated and rewritten for the twenty-first century, began to take shape. Garland gave the project his blessing, but left the writing and organization of new signatories to Adbusters. Earlier this year [1999] the magazine’s art director, Chris Dixon, read out a preliminary draft during a packed lecture at the Royal College of Art.

As the new version and list came together, other magazines were approached to see whether they would act as co-sponsors of the initiative.

first-things-first-manifesto-2000-adbusters

‘First Things First Manifesto 2000’ is being published in its entirety, with 33 signatories’ names, in Adbusters, Emigre and the AIGA Journal in North America, in Eye and Blueprint in Britain, in Items in the Netherlands, and Form in Germany. A poster version will be designed by Adbusters and dispatched to design schools around the world.

The aim is to stimulate discussion in all areas of visual communication – in education, in practice, in the organizations that represent design’s aspirations and aims – as well as outside design. The changing relationship of advertising, graphic design, commerce and culture poses some profound questions and dilemmas that have recently been overlooked. If anything, these developments are accepted as an unproblematic fait accompli.

In consequence, many young designers have little conception of the values, ideals and sense of responsibility that once shaped the growth and practice of design. The profession’s senior figures, who do, are for the most part quiet. Adbusters’ welcome initiative reasserts these considerations as fundamental to any sensitive interpretation of graphic design’s role and potential.

First published in Eye no. 33 vol. 9, 1999

Links

http://www.adbusters.org
http://www.eyemagazine.com/feature.php?id=42&fid=53
http://www.emigre.com/EMag.php?issue=53

Authors Featured in Eye Magazine

Authors (designers)

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

various designers

••• — — — •••

first-things-first_1964-2000

13_action_First-things-first-manifesto

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Graphic Expression of Internment

MFA Thesis

Three Photo Albums From
The United States
Holocaust Memorial Museum

PREFACE

Graphic Expression of Internment refers to the specific representation of shared graphic art and artifacts of the Holocaust. The graphic nature of the three photo albums/scrapbooks addresses the planned or articulated language of design. The design process connotes editorial decisions made in the process of articulated planning in their planning and creation. By definition, graphic design is an art or profession of visual communication that skillfully combines images, words, and ideas to convey information to an audience. Graphic design can also be a form of personal expression that reflects the attitudes of the community for which the work is intended. This collection looks at the expressive nature of design in its ability to structure content, creating a greater inclusive narrative. Unlike a stack of collected photographs and album presumes a continued theme or progression. Un affected photo albums have no notation of content; there exists no context that identifies cohesiveness themes of known categories for inclusion. Often photo albums are a chronological placement of people, places, and events placed in rhythmical sequence directly ordered according to the prescribed time-line. Photo albums may contain prescribed descriptions, or identify people, places, and dates.

MFA thesis, circa 2008, Graphic Expression of Internment (cover)

MFA thesis, circa 2008, Graphic Expression of Interment

Graphic Expression of Internment (title page)

08_graphic-expression-of-internment

Photo albums or scrapbooks have a different agenda. The photo albums in this collection have specific purpose and intent—to document and preserve the experience of place through the extended narrative of applied design. Organized albums imply careful attention to drawn similarities and the process of editing is crucial. The focused attention connotes a cohesive selection. One can imagine a vast subjective material, the critical methodology used for selection, or negation, delivers a finished cohesive album. The specific graphic attention expresses common visual themes such as documentation, preservation, dedication, and memorial; reinforced by the medium itself.

“To a family with a golden heart.
They’re gone but the memory stays.”

This book is dedicated to the creators of theses photo albums and their extended families in remembrance, Mrs. Trude Friedler, Mrs. Phyllis Prosaw, and Mrs. Mimi Peckham.

May their memory never fade.

There were many forms of designed objects and ephemera. Items created in harshly restrictive environments have different visual characteristics than objects in comparatively relaxed situations. The graphic works created in Jewish ghettos for example have a feeling of immediacy about them. I am repeatedly drawn to graphic works created by Jews during the Holocaust. Common forms of graphic communication include: maps, signage, camp insignias, newspapers and periodical, and documents of many forms. In rare instances, Jewish designers worked for the resistance creating forged Nazi documents for the direct survival of individuals. It is hard to imagine design to be so active in such a dire state of existence. Design commonly reflects cultural and social development, so to does design aptly capture the visual aesthetics of life in internment. These albums do not present us with ‘graphic’ images of death and destruction, pain and suffering, or darkness one typically associates with the Holocaust. The graphic attitudes in these three albums celebrate optimistic rehabilitation.

FRIEDLER | PROSAW | PECKHAM

There has been previous research offered of artwork created amidst the Holocaust, often focusing on children’s artwork, or clandestine subjective representation of experience and observations. Rarely historical research looks to analyze ‘designed’ artifacts from the Holocaust. My intentions are to illuminate and highlight such works, and to place them in the history of graphic design as important contributions to the expressive history of the medium. The objective nature of design better justly suits strict documentation of the Holocaust. However, the deeply personal experience of the Holocaust embeds the personality and circumstances of the individual and the collective experience of the community.

Graphic Expression of Internment Web Archive, MICA_GDMFA, circa 2008 [link]
USHMM [link]

Link

Design Is History

A GREAT introduction to graphic design:

Design Is History

Design is History?

As a designer it is important to understand where design came from, how it developed, and who shaped its evolution. The more exposure you have to past, current and future design trends, styles and designers, the larger your problem-solving toolkit. The larger your toolkit, the more effective of a designer you can be.

Part of the graduate thesis of designer Dominic Flask, this site was created as a teaching tool for young designers just beginning to explore graphic design and as a reference tool for all designers. It provides brief overviews of a wide range of topics rather than an in-depth study of only a few.

Design Culture Now

Design Culture Now

Bodega Typeface created on an iPad using iFontMaker; exported as a True Type font format.

Hand drawn “DE•SIGN” and “Cooper – Hewitt…” hand-lettering was drawn and generated on an iPad using the Made With Paper — 53 iPad App.
|

A Critical Academic Response

Many design professors and faculty have begun implementing a version of Ellen Lupton’s Design Culture Now poster assignment into GD1, GD2, or Typography classes across the globe. This overwhelming acceptance of this project has created a small online community. Almost a right of passage, a Google search for Design Culture Now Poster recalls hundreds of student posters. The collection is a small snapshot into the current need for design curriculum to adapt, change, and address contemporary design issues and technical attributes.

As a former graduate student of Ellen’s, I readily accept this project and have added it to my GD1 courses for the past several semesters. I have seen an assorted grouping of student designs; some excellent, and others that miss the essential guidelines and typographic criteria for which the project was created.

The National Design Triennial exhibition and catalog of the same name was once a speculative collection of cross-disciplinary designers and their designs in both theory, practice, and application. As indirect result has formed a large micro community of poster designs. These designs can illuminate current design trends, design education, and current events circulating the international design community.

Student designs vary greatly, from well developed visual design concepts, to poorly reactive, non-observant non articulated misaligned solutions. Seeing the larger community of DCN poster design I see my teaching notes are not unlike others. The uniqueness of this poster community allows distant observation for both the students and faculty. The diversity allows students to witness other attempts, used in a larger discussion can help make their own posters more articulate and considered. The DCN poster project is an ever specific, minute micro study, into current events of design history. The larger collection is acting like a time capsule for contemporary design education practice.

Project: 5
Text, image, hierarchy, impact

DCN POSTER DESIGN

Time to make a poster! Again, we turn to Ms. Lupton
(with some modifications):

Create a poster for a lecture series about contemporary design.

Carefully consider the typographic hierarchy of the information presented. A viewer should be able to easily understand the calendar of events and quickly learn who the main speakers are. The poster must also convey the excitement of contemporary design to an audience of designers and students. The information itself must constitute the “imagery” of the poster.

Your posters should show a significant rigorous study of potential typographic solutions. Think of the past projects leading up to this; how does hierarchy, type size and style, and the use of a grid organize information. What relationships can you create?

Details:

Size: 18” x 24”

  • Your poster must be type dominant. You may use colors, shapes, and lines as well as any supplemental text.
  • Any secondary imagery such as a collage, illustration or photograph must be created by you. No outside found/stolen/borrowed imagery may be used.
  • You must use a grid to organize your design. The grid is up to you. Consider how the number of columns and rows may organize and structure your content.

Ideation—first draft of designs. You must create three poster concepts. Present your three designs reduced to fit an 11” x 17” (including crop marks). Each of your three concepts must be printed, cut, and trimmed and prepared before class begins. Unfinished posters will not be accepted for critique.

:::

RESOURCES:

Three Phases of Design

Three Phase DesignDiagram, Three Phases of a Project

Research and Investigation

I) Research and Investigation is the key to developing design solutions. During this phase, the scope of work, problems and criteria are determined. The thoroughness of information obtained in this phase determines the success of the solutions.

Concept and Design

II) Concept and Design is the phase when potential solutions are conceived and developed, based upon information gathered in the first phase. At the conclusion of this phase, the final designs and copy are completed, then reviewed and approved by the client.

Implementation and Supervision

III) Implementation and Supervision is the phase when the production of camera-ready artwork or adjustments to disk art, photography, and illustration are done. Artwork will be prepared clearly and accurately for maximum
efficiency in the printing process. Final production will be discussed with the client and production considerations handled. At the conclusion of this phase, all final artwork-scans, photography, or illustration-will be approved by the client and sent to the printer for reproduction. Alterations or corrections can still be
made, however, changes at this stage are expensive and will delay final delivery.

First Things First Manifesto 2000

Eye 33 MagazineEye Magazine

Eye, #33, Autumn 1999

First Things First Manifesto 2000

Thirty-three visual communicators renew the 1964 call for a change of priorities.

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 programmes, films, charitable causes and other information design projects urgently require our expertise and help.

We propose a reversal of priorities in favour 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.

Authors (designers)

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

Background
Last year the Canadian magazine Adbusters took the unusual step of reprinting a manifesto, ‘First Things First’, written 35 years ago in London by Ken Garland and signed by 21 other visual communicators. As it turned out, Garland knew nothing about this renewed interest in his call for a ‘reversal of priorities in favour of the more useful and more lasting forms of communication. Adbusters had come across the manifesto in a back issue of Eye (see ‘There is such a thing as society’ by Andrew Howard, Eye no. 13 vol. 4) and felt that its sentiments had become ‘more, rather than less relevant’ today.

After that, things started to move. Kalle Lasn, editor of Adbusters, showed the issue with ‘First Things First’ to the late Tibor Kalman, who said: ‘We should do this now. ‘They met Ken Garland himself at their Vancouver HQ. Little by little the idea of a new version of ‘First Things First’, updated and rewritten for the twenty-first century, began to take shape. Garland gave the project his blessing, but left the writing and organization of new signatories to Adbusters. Earlier this year [1999] the magazine’s art director, Chris Dixon, read out a preliminary draft during a packed lecture at the Royal College of Art.

As the new version and list came together, other magazines were approached to see whether they would act as co-sponsors of the initiative.

‘First Things First Manifesto 2000’ is being published in its entirety, with 33 signatories’ names, in Adbusters, Emigré and the AIGA Journal in North America, in Eye and Blueprint in Britain, in Items in the Netherlands, and Form in Germany. A poster version will be designed by Adbusters and dispatched to design schools around the world.

The aim is to stimulate discussion in all areas of visual communication – in education, in practice, in the organizations that represent design’s aspirations and aims – as well as outside design. The changing relationship of advertising, graphic design, commerce and culture poses some profound questions and dilemmas that have recently been overlooked. If anything, these developments are accepted as an unproblematic fait accompli.

In consequence, many young designers have little conception of the values, ideals and sense of responsibility that once shaped the growth and practice of design. The profession’s senior figures, who do, are for the most part quiet. Adbusters’ welcome initiative reasserts these considerations as fundamental to any sensitive interpretation of graphic design’s role and potential.

First published in Eye no. 33 vol. 9, 1999

Links
http://www.adbusters.org

http://www.eyemagazine.com/feature.php?id=42&fid=53

Pinterest Obsession

Image Audit

Mood Board

A carefully curated collection of imagery, selected to evoke associative perceptions, persuade expectations, and drive emotional response. A mood board persists as an abstraction. Mood boards are the non-verbal  essence of removed and editorial observations. Ephemeral objects removed from their purpose — void of intent and directional outcome.

  • Explorative
  • Playful
  • Definitive
  • Suggestive
  • Informative
  • Speculative
  • Reflective
  • Ethereal
  • Site-specific
  • Obscurities
  • Abnormalities

Pinterest Image Audit

Immigrants from — “There” natural habitat. Imagery can fill gaps created by complex, undefined, and insufficient words; a grouping of evocative textures & materials.

The open ended and infinitive nature of the “inter-tubes” is false. Everyone of us has dialed in to specific edited content—in essence, writing our own destructive prescriptions, unaware of the side effects. Destination out-weights the path. Enlisting to a pre-fixed menu we consult with thieves. We choose to be fed that which interests us most.