September 13, 2011

Visual Advocacy: Week 4 Readings

Towards Critical Autonomy

Several decades ago, graphic design seemed to be much more simple, or at least more simply defined. There were perimeters that it stuck to and only a limited amount of media that it could be applied to. With the onset of computers however, that all has gone out the window. In many cases, it seems like graphic design is now a commodity, a vehicle, that often loses cohesion the more mediums one concept is spread across. Also, much of graphic design seems to now rely on someone's personal style. Many times the style is the end-all, when what we really need is a cohesive timeless solution to a problem—not just a pretty picture.

Now that we can do Anything

There has been a lot of innovation in the past few decades, more than there has been since the age of invention. When I read this, it was almost hard to believe, and it kind of blew my mind. But part of that might just be because it's something I grew up with, and therefor kind of gloss over. With the speedy change of the economies, and the sorts of services out there, it is important that graphic design is as up-to-date as the rest of what's out there. We are not just designers, but researchers and inventors, problem-solvers and presenters of information on all levels.
And designers are also not just those who design graphically. Nowadays, a designer is anyone that uses critical thinking to solve a problem. And we cannot discount these new designers, because design is now, more than ever, and extremely collaborative environment. Also, more and more of the systems that these other designers use can be manipulated to be used by us (again, collaboration!). Everyone is spilling into each others' respective fields, and it all sounds very exciting! The more that we can utilize these overlaps, the more ambitious we can be.

Cultural Catalysts, Cultural Agency

As a designer, it is our job to be a catalyst. We not only deliver the message, but also to create an environment or system in which we are not only informing the viewer (ie, to the existence of a product) but also providing the beginning of a dialogue between the client and the consumer. From there, the consumer has the opportunity to give their opinions and criticisms of the product, client can continue the dialogue, and trouble shooting can begin.

Quantum Leap: Beyond Literal Materiality

This reading was a little difficult for me to understand, I admit. What I think I got from it is: with the digital age, we need to modify our thinking to think past the previous physical limitations of what graphic design was. A toolbar in a program is not the same as a box of tools in real life. Do not think of what you are working on as a page, again, that it physical. Instead think of it i s a space, and a system. I was not really sure what this guy was getting at, eve after rereading this article.

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