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Ergo

like a rosetta stone for some ancient lost language, i hope this thread might go someway towards assisting myself and others to understand some of the concepts that have been in recent use on speak up.

for example:

1) graphic design is a problem solving endeavour.

would you say this because you have experienced a number of jobs where two graphic designers have, unaware of each others existence, both submitted identical work to the client, hence a ‘solution’?

2) college is not the real world.

would one say this because you, say, studied etruscan history yet gave it all up and now practise graphic design, hence your college experience has no bearing whatsoever on your current life?

3) graphics is a big old hard nosed commercial business.

perhaps one sees the examples of andy warhol, victor vasarely, david hockney, that bloke who did the weird floaty landscape with the bird and the people on it, keith haring, stussy, marimekko, ellsworth kelly, donald judd, man ray and many others and thinks, good heavens, they made a mint out of it in a big time business style-why can’t i?

so-how does your experience in design lead to the words, the concepts you use to explain, describe, debate, argue and just generally chinwag about graphic design? what were/are those experiences?

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ARCHIVE ID 1821 FILED UNDER Discussion
PUBLISHED ON Feb.11.2004 BY graham
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Comments
Darrel’s comment is:

I always enjoy reading Graham's posts.

I don't always get them, but they're eloquent in their wording.

On Feb.11.2004 at 01:06 PM
Greg’s comment is:

I don't know what it says that there are, as of the time of this post, 63 post regarding hardware likes and dislikes, and only one post regarding the thinking that we put into our own professional opinions (and even that post says very little).

Are we so shallow? No one can think of anything to say here? I think the scope is such that it takes a while to even grasp the question. I think we're being asked, "What makes us think the way we think?"

I, personally, can't answer either. I'm not sure what has led me to my beliefs, except for a culmination of experiences in my short design career. Teachers, business people, artists, people who proclaim to be artists...all have had a bearing on me and my beliefs, but I can't point to specific instances. Something I am going to have to think about.

On Feb.11.2004 at 02:48 PM
Zoelle’s comment is:

I think the manner in which people use design around me lends the most influence.

I've seen people treat design like real estate. By that, I mean a boss/client decides that all white space in an ad or catalog needs to be utilized. Why? -- because they did the math and found out how much a square inch of ad space costs.

I've observed people who just want to make the money, but don't want to do the work. This is accomplished through scanning the photos in stock photo books and using them without the rights, or downloading a web site and replacing most of the graphics. Again, not good people.

One instructor that I had in college makes fluffy nondescript corporate images using pastels. He has a masters degree in illustration, but chooses to create the types of images he does because of the fast turn-around and lucrative commissions. Is this wrong? I guess for me it is.

The other types of people which I draw the most positive influences from are passionate designers. While in college I met some very good, extremely talented friends who showed me what living as a designer could be like. I'm still inspired by them. And finally, the words and work of the people on Speak Up. If you guys weren't passionate you probably wouldn't be here.

On Feb.11.2004 at 03:00 PM
surts’s comment is:

I'm not sure that I agree with the generalizations of points one and two, but I'll have to save that argument for another day. The design experience for me has been built out of experimentation and conversation. Hypothesis, test and proceed. It's been a slow progression from learning what it is, to trying to forget it all, to rebuilding it again. It's trying to keep the eyes connected to the brain and keeping things slightly uncomfortable. Getting thumped once and again is good too, it helps the learning process. Before SU, the GDC listserv and a couple other sites, I would never have said that technology would have helped with the progression, but the ability to get a broader sense of perspectives has also contributed to my experience of design.

On Feb.11.2004 at 03:01 PM
Jason W. Howell’s comment is:

graham,

My experience, like each of us, it is dependent upon our past. Here is my take:

1) graphic design is a problem solving endeavor.

I come from a science and engineering background (as a mechanical engineering student). Somewhere between eighth grade yearbook and fifth year of college/first year as a design student I learned to solve problems. Because of this experience, the Swiss/German notion of design appeals to me. Yet I have learned through time that the creative aspects of problem solving are key to creating a unique solution.

Combining the two ends of the spectrum is the ideal.

To solve the problem of the similar solutions from different designers, the solution(s) were a compromise of message, form, media, and client interaction. Perhaps the designers did not give enough creative thought to the problem. We all know that budgets and deadlines can hinder this process.

2) college is not the real world.

I learned very little in college about prepress, file management, billable hours, etc. I try to teach my students the basic of these topics. I have learned from my experiences that commercial skills are valuable to employers.

As an educator I see that it is my responsibility to teach my students the problem solving process and the basics of visual communication (ie formal elements) as well as production skills. During this process if I can teach a student to teach themselves; to learn a new software app, to apply type to an environmental project, to create and/or solve new problems on their own, then I have created a successful designer.

I assume a firm owner or art director would want someone who can be molded by the employer’s impression without the need of constant supervision.

3) graphics is a big old hard nosed commercial business.

I think the answer to this question is another question.

Is design art or science?

If design is the creation of an immaculate artifact, then the answer most likely leans on the side of art. If design is the creation of forms and experiences that facilitates another activity, then the answer sifts to the side of science. Maybe another question should be asked to decide. Do you (read any individual, not just graham) like working for or against “The Man/Woman?” For=science. against=aet. I like to say I work with “The Man/Woman.” Either way, businesses, and their related economic muscle, have significant impact on the content, production, and sustainability of design.

It is my experience that the client often determines density of the business nose.

I hope I have made some valuable additions to the discussion.

On Feb.11.2004 at 03:25 PM
Armin’s comment is:

> I don't know what it says that there are, as of the time of this post, 63 post regarding hardware likes and dislikes, and only one post regarding the thinking that we put into our own professional opinions [...] Are we so shallow?

Greg, I wouldn't read too much into that. Fact is, this is a forum that people devote their free time (which sometimes is slim) to. It takes far less time to comment on hardware likes and dislikes than it does on questions like Graham's. The same people who take the time to answer thoughtful questions as this one are the same people who are also commenting on the hardware thread. So coming to the conclusion that we are shallow is a bit incorrect. Nothing wrong with your comment, because there is a certain truth to it in a more general aspect, but just wanted to clear that up.

On Feb.11.2004 at 03:41 PM
graham’s comment is:

surts-'I'm not sure that I agree with the generalizations of points one and two, but I'll have to save that argument for another day.'

please don't save the arguments-that's part of the point.

jason-'To solve the problem of the similar solutions from different designers . . . '

the point here is about the notion of 'solution'-i should imagine your background is very useful in terms of what you may know or feel about this. the concept of a 'solution' implies a single unequivocal result to a given 'problem', yet the likelihood of two designers making an identical piece of work from a single brief is very very small. yet designers claim that their work is a solution. i wonder why this is.

there are probably lots of other hand me downs/received notions that through their daily use hinder any usefully broad or deep discussion of any or all aspects of design. i'm sure we'll think of some more.

On Feb.11.2004 at 03:41 PM
mitch’s comment is:

graphic design is a problem solving endeavor.

If I had to look at design in such a way, then I would call it a scenario solving endeavor — much the way a scenario is often composed of various layers and aspects, so too is the solution. Nothing we all don't all already know, but design is to the subjective as accounting is to the objective; I can tell you for sure if your expenditures balance your revenue, but I can only tell you what I think is the right branding scheme for the company. I think design is a way to have a manifesto that happens to pay you for using it. Design allows you to not only be theoretical and dare I say postmodern, but it allows you to do so in a way that at least superficially accessible to the average Joe - in a way literature and philosophy cannot. If done well, even complex symbolisym can be understood by non designers.

college is not the real world.

It’s the pre-real world. It’s like the preface to a book, or the content in a movie that happens before the opening credits. I agree with Jason in that I would like to see one class in every designer’s career devoted to Design Pragmatics. I also believe that college teaches you to think and have a process, on demand, which is infinitely valuable in the workplace. I also find that just the exposure to different faculty, students, work, history, etc… is a great teacher as well.

graphics is a big old hard nosed commercial business.

what isn’t?

On Feb.11.2004 at 05:00 PM
rebecca’s comment is:

Good post Graham.

graphic design is a problem solving endeavor.

I do sometimes approach my work from a problem-solving perspective: tables that are too wide to fit in a book, or too many art callouts on a single page. I'm not crazy about applying the "problem-solution" metaphor very broadly though, because the more it encompasses the less it means. After all, folding your clothes is a problem solving endeavor too.

college is not the real world.

Actually I am more bothered by the effort to make college more like the real world: more business, marketing, and accounting classes for all, but meanwhile the library cancels its subscription to the Journal of Etruscan History. Give me the ivory tower any day.

graphics is a big old hard nosed commercial business.

This is not true for me, but I thought it might be for you Graham—though I confess to not being as knowledgeable about Tomato as the rest of the people here. So anyway...it's not?

On Feb.11.2004 at 06:35 PM
marian’s comment is:

Re: "problem-solving," rebecca said it for me ... pretty much what I was going to say (except I was going to use the example of making lunch being a problem-solving endeavour). It's not a description I favour.

college is not the real world

Well, college is a real world for hundreds of thousands of people (millions?). Some people manage to never leave it, or leave briefly only to return shortly thereafter. My brother, for instance, has a tenured position at a University teaching Sociology. He had a revelation recently, and told me with this sense of wonder that he has realized he can do whatever he wants ... I suddenly regretted not going into academia.

Anyway, I think the truth of the statement is that college is not a business. Design is a business. Is design college intended to train designers to run or work in a business, or is it intended to train them to think laterally and apply visually and spacially? I do think that design colleges should teach more business sense, how to relate to other people in a business atmosphere, etc. but not at the expense of the "art" side of design.

Which brings me to the third statement. I already said that graphic design is a business. Is it a big old hard-nosed one, though? I think it really depends on the design firm and the clients they deal with. Hard-nosed clients require hard-nosed design firms. Many aspects of the design business are all soft and squishy.

I think most of the people you mentioned there were artists--artists who may have crossed the line in their graphic style or the commissions they took, but artists nonetheless who, had the client rejected their work, could/would have flipped them the bird in a weird floaty landscape and walked away none the worse for it.

As for your last question ... it's too big, and I cannot answer it.

I don't know what it says that there are, as of the time of this post, 63 post regarding hardware likes and dislikes, and only one post regarding the thinking that we put into our own professional opinions.

This is like the time Steve Heller posted his big History question on the same day as the "pets" post. That was embarassing. My hardware post was a crowd-pleaser, and I knew it. As Armin said, it's easy to post to that, takes but a few minutes and most people can add something without getting all twisted up about it.

This post however is more difficult. It does require thought (I read it earlier today and said, "Can't deal with that now--it's too much, I have to think about it.") and time to respond to. It is also a little obscurely worded and I wasn't entirely sure what kind of response graham was looking for, so I thought I'd let others get the ball rolling.

Yes, we're shallow, and no we're not. It depends: on the person, the day, the topic, the fear, the time, the understanding.

On Feb.11.2004 at 07:46 PM
Jason Tselentis’s comment is:

1) graphic design is a problem solving endeavour.

2) college is not the real world.

3) graphics is a big old hard nosed commercial business.

1 = 2

2 ≠ 3

3 = $

1 + 2 + 3 ≠ graphic design

π x 24 = my daily experiences

√(π x 24 x 24) = my chinwagging

∞ = my range of observation

Calculations aside, everything's up for questioning and anything can become part of our experience matrix, if we allow it to.

On Feb.11.2004 at 09:53 PM
Armin’s comment is:

> This is like the time Steve Heller posted his big History question on the same day as the "pets" post. That was embarassing.

Marian, Saul Bass and Paul Rand could have posted that day and wouldn't have stood a chance against Sasparrilla.

On Feb.11.2004 at 10:10 PM
sasparilla’s comment is:

Apologies to Mr. Heller.

On Feb.12.2004 at 08:01 AM
Greg’s comment is:

So coming to the conclusion that we are shallow is a bit incorrect. -Armin

It does require thought (I read it earlier today and said, "Can't deal with that now--it's too much, I have to think about it.") and time to respond to. It is also a little obscurely worded and I wasn't entirely sure what kind of response graham was looking for, so I thought I'd let others get the ball rolling. - marian

I totally understand what you're saying, I had to do it too. I kept waiting for others to understand it and comment so I could chime in with them... but should our responses be so slow? Shouldn't we already know where our beliefs come from?

I learned a bit from this post, not about design concepts, but about my own depth of conviction to specific ideas. Where does it come from? I think some designers are so addicted to the black-turtleneck-chai-latte sitting-in-borders playing-with-my-ipod image, that we lose the focus it takes to question our own beliefs. Myself included, at times. We get so enamored with our image, and then someone comes along and says, "I don't get it," and we stare blankly and walk away. Every last one of us did that. I felt almost attacked because of the question, and I shouldn't have. There should already be an articulable reason why we think the way we think.

To conclude, I don't think we're shallow - anyone who comes here to this site on a regular basis has the thirst for knowledge and the questioning attitude required for success in this field - but we can sure appear that way at times.

On Feb.12.2004 at 09:31 AM
Tom’s comment is:

As far as "solution", as I read your initial post, I could feel my brain shiver. What do you mean we "the branding elite design conquerors" don't provide "the" solution? But a great topic! What is a solution? Is there really a problem? Do we say "solution" only so we can justify our involvement in the business world? Quantitative, tangible results from a "process" that works best untamed and free flowing? Ofcourse we should have critical situational paths to follow - correct? If we break new ground here, everyone in the "brandical" profession will have to alter their trademarked processes.

OK - this will give me plenty to chew on the rest of the day. Thanks Graham.

On Feb.12.2004 at 09:56 AM
Jason’s comment is:

graham, you've done it again. You've managed to stump me, and even stump my initial post's attempt to be unstumpted.

On Feb.12.2004 at 01:52 PM
debbie millman’s comment is:

Ditto, dammit. But I am working on it.

(sigh)

On Feb.12.2004 at 02:27 PM
Aaron S.’s comment is:

When I first saw the new Speak Up logo, I immediately thought of the Kleenex logo. Maybe because I have a cold. After closer inspection I realized that the Speak Up logo is much cooler, but darned if there's not a slight resemblance. I'll bet there is a reason for this, and I'll bet it's got something to do with handwriting, because Speak Up is not nearly as soft and fluffy.

See what I mean...

On Feb.12.2004 at 03:42 PM
Armin’s comment is:

ergo…?

On Feb.12.2004 at 03:44 PM
Aaron S.’s comment is:

Ergo, Michael Clark's script logo for Speak Up is reminiscent of hand painted signage, most likely because he hand painted it. It's highly likely the Kleenex logo comes from 40s or 50s, when hand painted script was in vogue. Check House Industries' Sign Painter Collection for an example.

So am I crazy, or was hand painted signage inspiration for the Speak Up logo redesign? Just trying to draw parallels to influence and experience.

On Feb.12.2004 at 04:14 PM
Armin’s comment is:

> Just trying to draw parallels to influence and experience.

Ooooh, I see, I wasn't sure what the Speak Up logo had to do with the rest of this conversation.

> So am I crazy, or was hand painted signage inspiration for the Speak Up logo redesign?

No not crazy at all. In fact, it is also inspired by House Industries. And it it does look a bit like the Kleenex logo, which I have always liked in it's non-beveled version.

On Feb.12.2004 at 04:25 PM
Aaron S.’s comment is:

I have always liked in it's non-beveled version.

I totally agree. I almost said not to look at the beveled and embossed version.

No not crazy at all. In fact, it is also inspired by House Industries.

Nice. I love hand painted type. It's a special moment.

On Feb.12.2004 at 04:31 PM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

1. Graphic Design is a goal-oriented endeavor.

Sometimes problems exist. Sometimes not. Thinking from the onset that one has to solve problems limits results.

Like I've typed in these pages before, Design is simply 'making choices'.

2. College is the real world; kinda.

The phrase "real life is like high school, only with more money" tends to ring true more often than not. We have cliques, personality conflicts and self-image problems (maybe not as intensely as a teenager, but...

Society has the cool people, the clowns, the jocks, the pricks, the nerds and the prom queens: the model Linda Evangelista lives in my building -- just when you think you look OK, the elevator door opens... and there you are, back to being a pimply-faced dork.

College is a great place for building a real world foundation. You learn how to drink, take drugs, establish schedules, screw, and resolve conflicts -- without the parental support system. There is no way a college curriculum can properly prepare you for the real real world other than to help focus the mind and impart the basics. The rest is networking and old-fashioned ass-in-chair experience.

3. Graphics is a big old, hard-nosed commercial business when you have big old, hard-nosed commercial clients.

If that's the type of person you want to work for, great. If not, great. Each come with their benefits, degrees of compensation and levels or responsibility. There's a great line in The Fountainhead: I don't design to have clients; I have clients so I can design.

On Feb.12.2004 at 04:43 PM
Aaron S.’s comment is:

I design to have clients. That's how I got my first job.

Chicken or the Egg?

On Feb.12.2004 at 05:08 PM
Steven’s comment is:

Graham-

Thanks for these great questions.

Armin-

Thanks for being sensitive to the contextual nature of our participation. It's precisely this awareness that makes your site so rewarding.

Greg and Others: Regarding Shallowness-

I agree that the participants in this site are not shallow people. Although generally, it can be disheartening to see so much of our professional focus being given to the surface of things, without questioning deeper meaning. Granted, this is undoubtedly a by-product of creating "beautiful" objects (tangible or virtual). And as I've said before, I do fear that there are a lot of people in our profession who are primarily concerned with being hip and making money, and avoid having to think too hard.

I say this from my own experience: In the two years that I've had my portfolio site live, out of hundreds of hits, I can't remember ever seeing people going to the Theory section of my site. (I can review this through Urchin Site Statistics.) It has been a big disappointment for me to see this. Now, I could understand people going to the Theory area, being turned off, and quickly exiting. But to just completely avoid it? How frustrating! I mean, wouldn't a potential employer or client want to know how I think about design, as much as look at the pretty pictures in my portfolio? While I continue to be disappointed, I hold out the belief that, for the best designers, thinking matters!

BTW, during that recent design philosophy thread, not only did I have 230 people visit my theory site in 2 days, but a large majority of people spent 10-30+ minutes actually reading the content. Extraordinary! This is a clear example of the quality of SU participants.

Now getting to the meat of this thread:

1) graphic design is a problem solving endeavour.

would you say this because you have experienced a number of jobs where two graphic designers have, unaware of each others existence, both submitted identical work to the client, hence a 'solution'?

For the rational pragmatists of the world, (and there are a lot out there in this bottom-line ROI world we live in these days), graphic design needs to be considered as a problem solving endeavor. Otherwise, to them, it serves no "function" other than decoration.

Now having said this, I think that graphic design is a much more complex and subjective process than the traditional linear, rationalist problem-solving metaphor affords. In fact, I would hazard to say that the situation of independent graphic designers both submitting identical work to a client would never happen. Similar designs: perhaps. Identical designs: highly unlikely. Each designer comes to the table with a different outlook on life and will engage with the project and client differently. Each designer will have their own systems of practice, networks of participants, and conditional situations. This is why each solution drawn from a multitude of designers can each be the "right" solution: Each solution is correct within the subjective and conditional construct of each designer. There is no one solution to any problem. Perhaps this is what Graham was subtly implying.

2) college is not the real world.

would one say this because you, say, studied etruscan history yet gave it all up and now practise graphic design, hence your college experience has no bearing whatsoever on your current life?

Well, every "world" is "real" to its inhabitants. On the otherhand, being a student is and should be different than being a working professional. College is where the foundations of personal learning and creativity are nurtured and grown. The professional world is where what we've learned is challenged, and we are forced to grow and adapt new enlightened forms of meaning and practice. Though, I would agree with others that some aspects of the professional world (e.g. working with clients, understanding billing and bidding processes, and contractual issues) could be given more attention in most educational programs. Added to this, I would also say that continuing educational and creative growth could be more emphasized in professional spheres.

3) graphics is a big old hard nosed commercial business.

so-how does your experience in design lead to the words, the concepts you use to explain, describe, debate, argue and just generally chinwag about graphic design? what were/are those experiences?

Okay. Now the BIG question.

Well, I have to say that I've always been hesitant to just accept things in a rote manner. I've always been skeptical of the traditionally rationalist "form follows function" paradigm. It always seemed too simplistic and limited. And the emergence of PoMo/Decon/PostStruct theories only helped to debunk the old ways even more. However, I've never been able to believe completely in these newer ways of thinking either. They always seemed, by their very nature, to be vague and overly esoteric in ways that didn't work with professional practice and business interests. And branding, while useful in certain ways, just didn't seem to fit all situations. And often, I felt as if the language of branding could be used to justify any sort of solution: good or bad. And therefore, it obfuscated as much as it illuminated the design process.

Added to this, I guess I'd have to say, is the life re-evaluation process that began when I was laid-off from Macromedia, back in '01, with the whole dot-com implosion and the events of 9/11 and all of the bloodshed that has followed. How did all of this come to pass? What were the mistakes that I made that helped to facilitate my condition? Why am I unsatisfied with design? How do I go forward? How can I rethink the very nature of design so that it can once again inspire me? How can the very nature of design be understood in such a way as to affect positive change, in a larger (global) scale? How can humankind rediscover ourselves within the multitude of contexts in which we live? How do we reconnect ourselves to the world in which we live?

And this is what compelled me to develop Organic Multiplicity. Slowly, I've been putting the pieces together, through introspection and analysis, talking to others, and reading and researching. I'm now able to start practicing and talking about design in ways that relate to this new way of thinking. And I'm open and eager to see where this will take me. I have also re-ignited my earlier passions about design. I feel more connected and engaged now. And even though I'm still struggling to make ends meet, I know in my heart that things are turning around for me, because I feel it. For the first time, in a long time, I'm being true to myself. And that's the most important thing in life, isn't it?

On Feb.12.2004 at 08:01 PM
Steven’s comment is:

Damn, that was a big post. Well, big questions deserve big answers, I guess. So much for today's productivity... ;-)

On Feb.12.2004 at 08:02 PM
PaulW’s comment is:

No, we are not shallow at all. Just lost, confused and in need of an English refresher course.

First of all, to the dude who likes to think of design as a scenario-solving endeavour: look up the word 'scenario'.

Here, let me help: http://www.m-w.com. (Pay attention, the rest of you! Dictionaries are almost as useful as the three-column grid.)

Okay, okay. I know you guys KNOW how to use the dictionary. How else could one come up with gems like 'traditional linear, rationalist problem-solving metaphor'? That's where the English refresher will come in handy. See, we know what you're trying to say but we don't like how you're saying it. Look up 'tone'.

Which brings me to the person who doesn't get Graham's posts, yet thinks they're eloquent. Look up 'eloquent'.

If you're wondering why I've affected this bitchy tone (ah, that word again), consider this scenario: An entire industry, after almost a century of existence, still cannot define itself. Its practitioners and supporters cannot agree on what it is they do or why they even do it. They talk about themselves incessantly but hardly say anything new, insightful, eloquent or even honest. Passion is somehow equated with listless postings to a virtual bulletin, during business hours no less (look up 'passion').

Designers are supposed to be communicators but most of what is up here is simply a rehashed regurgitation of old concepts, dressed up with store-bought jargon and bits of corn. If two graphic designers, unaware of each other's existence, spout the same meandering rubbish, should we feel enlightened or embarrased? This is tired, people.

In closing, I'd like to add a couple of notches to the Rosetta Stone which has been erected in our midst.

1) Graphic design is garnish. Let's please be honest. If the main dish is well-prepared, a judicious use of garnish can make it spectacular and memorable. If the dish sucks, it can still look nice but might give you diarrhoea. And if there's no dish, well, you have a sprinkling of chives and perhaps a bad taste in your mouth. (How's that for a traditional linear, rationalist problem-solving metaphor?)

2) College IS the real world. Those of you who agree that it is not should spend the rest of your lives paying the tuition of more deserving students. College is just one phase in the learning process and learning will not, can not, must not stop. If that concept pains you, turn off your Mac this instant. You're wasting electricity. It appears that designers, despite strenuous protestations to the contrary, have very narrow views of the world and of their roles in it. 'Adaptation': look it up, it's not just a movie title. Hell, even plants adapt. Well, have we identified the crux of the problem with graphic design/ers?

3) Yes, graphic design is a big old, hard-nosed, commercial business. Yes, yes, yes. The folks who insist that it's not aren't graphic designers, they're tourists. They're right there, but they don't see what's happening. Yes, designers are part of the machine and, if they're shrewd, can change their place in the assembly line. Kelly, Judd and the rest made it big because they poured their passion into their craft instead posting unitelligible chaff on online bulletins. Then they got some damn good PR reps. Yes, cogs can affect how the gears grind.

Okay, my lunch break is over.

On Feb.16.2004 at 02:07 PM
Armin’s comment is:

To the dude who 'is being an ass': you make good points, too bad I was distracted by your bitchy tone.

'Respect': look it up, it's not just a song.

On Feb.16.2004 at 02:17 PM
Jason’s comment is:

I like Eddie Murphy's version best,

R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Know what that spells, [email protected]$%*? Respect!

On Feb.16.2004 at 03:35 PM
Greg’s comment is:

look up the word 'scenario'.

Look up 'tone'.

Look up 'eloquent'.

look up 'passion'.

Look up "Persuasive Speaking 101." Ths first thing they teach you in 11th Grade English is to repeat points to draw interest. Besides, we're taking english advice from someone who puts apostrophes in place of quotation marks and places the punctuation of his sentences outside them?

Graphic design is garnish.

Bullshit. This is the dying, whining, mantra of every wanna-be that I've ever met. Try running a business without some sort of design. Everything a business puts out is design. It may be terrible, but it's design. And what the hell is the food metaphor? Design isn't food. Don't try and draw comparisons to things that you understand from things you don't.

College IS the real world.

In the sense that you mean, you are correct. College does, in fact, reside in physical reality. I think, though, the point that was trying to be made is that learning is different than doing. If you don't work in the design profession, you aren't a designer. You are a student. (Maybe you oughta try that again.)

Yes, graphic design is a big old, hard-nosed, commercial business.

No, it's not. Medicine is hard-nosed. Politics is hard-nosed. Graphic Design is cakewalk. If a design fails, the only person it affects is you. I think it's important, there would be no distinction between businesses without design, but to call it a hard-nosed business is, well, immature. But coming from you, that doesn't surprise me.

In closing, I don't have to be as P.C. as Armin, since its not my site. I draw a lot of inspiration from this "unitelligible chaff." If you don't like it here, don't post. Period. If you're looking for a fight, go to your neighborhood pub, tap the biggest guy you can find on the shoulder, and punch him in the jaw. Don't put useless angry posts on BBS's. And don't come to my pub.

On Feb.16.2004 at 03:39 PM
Steven’s comment is:

Okay, I admit that the word "metaphor" is misused, and should be replaced with "paradigm" or something similar. But I don't appreciate your condescending attitude.

I agree that learning "must never stop," but part of the learning process is the willingness to take chances and make mistakes. And unlike you, I don't pretend to be all-knowing.

On Feb.16.2004 at 03:42 PM
mitch’s comment is:

"Scenario�-�An outline of an hypothesized chain of events."

yah? it works for me just fine, i think you can extrapolate that word into what we are referring to as design "problems" just fine. Indeed, i like it better. For example, I can look at a logo design as a series of design events that are looked at and acted upon. But then again maybe you are too simplistic in your thinking to be able to see that relationship, dude.

On Feb.16.2004 at 03:46 PM
PaulW’s comment is:

Just one more quick post, and then I'm out of your collective hair.

Greg, thanks for your response. You've proven me right on many counts. Also, look up any comprehensive English style guide. I hope you realise there is more than one convention for punctuation. America isn't the only English-speaking nation there is. Um, what was that I said about designers and their narrow views? No thanks on the 'Persuasive Speaking 101'. You've persuaded me of nothing I didn't know before so pardon me if I don't count this as a reliable recommendation. Plus, what do you assume I 'wanna be'? And who's angry? Please calm down.

Never mind. You want your exclusive club? You've got it.

Jason, Armin, you're marginally humorous. Yes, I've heard the song and am familiar with the concept. It's as old as the themes you're retreading, but the song's message is far more interesting and relevant.

Steven, I'm glad you found the Webster link useful. Mitch, I'm sorry you did not.

So is everyone feeling some passion now? Too bad you're content to pass it back and forth amongst yourselves. No wonder no one knows what designers do.

On Feb.16.2004 at 04:58 PM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

Besides, we're taking english advice from someone who puts apostrophes in place of quotation marks and places the punctuation of his sentences outside them?

Please forgive the non sequitur, but this caught my attention.

Yale University Printer / design teacher John Gambell encourages the use of single quotes instead of full quotes and there are well-educated folks in the world following his lead. Concerning quotes as sentence-fragments, I am one of those people who think punctuation within quote marks looks wrong. The period is for the sentence, not the quote.

Punctuation is nothing but a collective agreement and open to change. I have some wonderful volumes from the mid-1800s that put a space BEFORE colons -- a particular affectation that I am trying to bring back into favor.

Now, where did I put my interrobang!?

On Feb.16.2004 at 05:02 PM
debbie millman’s comment is:

From Dictionary.com:

pas�sion (�P�)��Pronunciation Key��(pshn) n.

1. A powerful emotion, such as love, joy, hatred, or anger.

2. a. Ardent love.

b. Strong sexual desire; lust.

c. The object of such love or desire.

3. a. Boundless enthusiasm: His skills as a player don't quite match his passion for the game.

b. The object of such enthusiasm: Soccer is her passion.

4. An abandoned display of emotion, especially of anger: He's been known to fly into a passion without warning.

5. Passion

a. The sufferings of Jesus in the period following the Last Supper and including the Crucifixion, as related in the New Testament.

b. A narrative, musical setting, or pictorial representation of Jesus's sufferings.

6. Archaic. Martyrdom.

7. Archaic. Passivity.

***

Ugh. I have been avoiding posting to this discussion because it is so damn difficult to answer Graham's questions, but I can't keep away now. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

I wasn't sure why PaulW thought we needed to look up the meaning of passion in relation to our posting to this "virtual bulletin," but in looking it up, I realized that had he actually looked the word up himself, he wouldn't have needed to ask the question in the first place. First definition: A powerful emotion, such as love... PaulW: most of us love this site or love discussing/debating thoughts, ideas and philosophies about graphic design or both. It's pretty simple and pretty apparent.

Paul, you also said this: An entire industry, after almost a century of existence, still cannot define itself.

Hmmmmm. I guess that you could probably say that about alot of things, including the universe itself. Try this: an entire universe, after more than 23 billion years of existence, still can not be defined or fully understood. Doesn't seem so bad that we can't all agree on a definition of "what it is (we) do or why (we) even do it" after a mere century of existence. But the bigger question for me is this: why would we want some fully-defined pat answer to these questions? To make it easy to answer the question? Isn't it far more interesting to constantly challenge what we are right now in an effort to constantly reach higher ground? Wouldn't an 'easy to repeat definition' ultimately limit the possibilities of what we could do and how we could potentially be? You also say that designers have very narrow views of the world and of their roles in it. I beg to disagree. That is what we are seeking to understand, every day, here in this forum. And once someone states what it is they believe, we strenuously, rigorous analyze it. Which keeps us accountable. Which keeps us honest. Or at least this is what we hope for.

Re Graphic Design is garnish: PaulW--I noticed a dichotomy in your post. You say that graphic design is both a garnish and also "big old, hard-nosed, commercial business." How can they be both? Like you, I do think that graphic design is a big old, hard-nosed, commercial business, but I don't think it is a garnish. Is a company's identity just a garnish? Are a publicly held company's financials contained in an annual report a garnish? Is the nutritional information contained on a package a garnish? I don't think so. If graphic design fails it absolutely does affect more than just the designer--it effects and fails your client, and also the consumer, the audience: all the people viewing the design. Our world is made up of diverse icongraphic messages. This helps us make informed decisions of how to choose and what to expect of what it is we read, consume and experience. Which helps us define who we are--at least for now. Despite not having the final answer to Graham's questions, I can say emphatically that I do not think this is garnish.

Okay, I think I am done (for now). But don't worry PaulW...I didn't take time away from my day job to post this. It's Presidents Day and I have the day off.

; )

On Feb.16.2004 at 05:28 PM
Steven’s comment is:

Paul-

You seem quite comfortable with putting others down as a means to promote your own ideas. But if you actually felt comfortable with your own ideas, you wouldn't need this protective barrier of arrogance. A mature person would find ways and opportunities to engage in critical dialog without having to be destructive. As it stands now, you just come off sounding haughty and close-minded, and the real value you might have contributed to this discussion has been poisoned.

Debbie-

Isn't it far more interesting to constantly challenge what we are right now in an effort to constantly reach higher ground? Wouldn't an 'easy to repeat definition' ultimately limit the possibilities of what we could do and how we could potentially be? You also say that designers have very narrow views of the world and of their roles in it. I beg to disagree. That is what we are seeking to understand, every day, here in this forum.

Amen to that!!!

On Feb.16.2004 at 06:59 PM
mitch’s comment is:

Steven, I'm glad you found the Webster link useful. Mitch, I'm sorry you did not.

Apparently your ignorant blatherings did not help you read what I have written. I think that its evident that I sould be taking lessons on English from someone who referres to others as "dude."

On Feb.16.2004 at 09:18 PM
Tom Gleason’s comment is:

Thanks for the posts, PaulW.

I wasn't surprised by the reactions; they are totally predictable, which I'm sure is one of the reasons you wrote the way you did. It's always interesting to make the dirty little secrets of discourse more apparent; and it's even more interesting when other people help you do it.

It was a well-written and totally valid contribution. As usual, people take offense when they have some deep personal investment in what is being criticized.

People often confuse respect with obedience or quietude.

They often confuse arrogance with assertiveness or playfulness, or seriousness.

And, as is quite common in design circles, people often value form over content. I laugh when I think that a quotation-mark usage or 'proper' tone determines for some people what is a valid opinion. There is no openness in that.

By calling Paul arrogant, you are saying that he needs humility, and you're assuming that you have it, which is fairly arrogant.

It is condescending to call someone immature.

This opens up a whole can of worms about argumentation and morality. I can't ground it, but I can tell you that it feels "wrong" to me when superficial nit-picking is used to avoid deep questions and maintain an imperfect status quo.

I'm really beginning to believe that blog argument is hyper-real, just as exciting as real argument with no real consequences.

Anyway,

I like single quotes, and then double quotes for quotes-within-quotes. It makes more sense; it's the simplest solution. I got points taken off of a school paper once because I used single quotes after I read Bringhurst's book-- Well, I learned my lesson and immediately stopped trying to think about school work.

On Feb.16.2004 at 09:31 PM
Armin’s comment is:

> It was a well-written and totally valid contribution. As usual, people take offense when they have some deep personal investment in what is being criticized.

Tom, I even said so myself, he made some good points. I don't confuse arrogance with assertiveness or playfulness, or seriousness, I just know when somebody is being an ass, and Paul W, valid points an all was being one, as well as a bit insulting. I don't mind strong, nor contrarian, opinions and yes, I would take them more seriously if I were able to take the person more seriously.

Paul, you go on to say that we are saying nothing new here and that this is rehashed regurgitation of old concepts, dressed up with store-bought jargon and bits of corn — that's a valid point and I'll be the first to plead guilty to it in some instances, I just fail to see any new thinking on your part. You are just taking the fuck designers and design stance that so many like to take upon to cover for their own lack of success as professional designers.

> I'm really beginning to believe that blog argument is hyper-real, just as exciting as real argument with no real consequences.

Tom, based on all your comments throughout the past month here and even in Design Observer it seems to me — and I say this with all respect from person to person — that you need to put up or, well, to keep this discussion polite, keep it down a little. Too much talk.

I don't want to turn this into a shit-flinging thread, But those who have a strong opinion please have something worthwhile to back it up with.

Sincerely and marginally humorous,

Armin.

On Feb.16.2004 at 10:19 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Just wanted to extend an apology to Tom. My comment was not very constructive. So, sorry Tom.

On Feb.17.2004 at 08:38 AM
Greg’s comment is:

Just one more quick post, and then I'm out of your collective hair.

People with legitimate arguments don't post to a BBS and then leave. I'm enjoying the discussion, why not stay a bit and defend yourself?

You've proven me right on many counts.

Care to elaborate?

I hope you realise there is more than one convention for punctuation. America isn't the only English-speaking nation there is.

True. I concede the point. I was merely trying to point out the fallacy of nitpicking an argument, such as over emphasis on grammatical errors. Try to concentrate on the argument and not the speaker.

No thanks on the 'Persuasive Speaking 101'.

I think you missed my point. I wasn't offering a course on persuasive speaking. I was letting you know that I know this trick. Please reread my earlier post for content, not for criticism.

Plus, what do you assume I 'wanna be'?

I assume that you are a disgruntled ex-student who had no good ideas, so therefore was hired by nobody, and are now bitter and get your thrills by challenging artists to debates and walking away. Let me know if I'm close - oh wait, you can't. You left.

And who's angry? Please calm down.

I AM angry, you walked into my turf, slapped me in the face and told me to calm down about it?

So is everyone feeling some passion now? Too bad you're content to pass it back and forth amongst yourselves. No wonder no one knows what designers do.

I meant to comment on this in my prior post - unfortunately, there were too many things wrong with your argument, and I actually do have work to do. I come here because nowhere else can I feel the fire that I felt when I first started in design. Many would agree, I gather. Because I question my purpose in life, does not mean it has no validity. I think that it's incredible that designers talk to each other about philosophy. You don't see plumbers sitting in a chatroom discussing the moral implications of using a 5/16 wrench, because to them it's just a job. To us, or at least to me, it's a lifestyle. It's constantly challenging the barriers of tradition.

Tom-

I can't stand when people do this-

I wasn't surprised by the reactions; they are totally predictable, which I'm sure is one of the reasons you wrote the way you did. It's always interesting to make the dirty little secrets of discourse more apparent; and it's even more interesting when other people help you do it.

Don't reiterate his points when you don't know what they are.

It was a well-written and totally valid contribution. As usual, people take offense when they have some deep personal investment in what is being criticized.

Um, Duh. Should we not? If we don't, then are we not lacking the "passion" that Paul mentioned?

By calling Paul arrogant, you are saying that he needs humility, and you're assuming that you have it, which is fairly arrogant.

In Philosophy, I learned a fallible argument type that goes like this: A chicken is not a cow. Therefore, if you are not a cow, then you are a chicken. Humility is lack of arrogance. See the connection?

It is condescending to call someone immature.

Yes, it is. It is also condescending to post to a BBS for designers that you know more than they do, and are willing to educate them by slamming everything that they say.

I can't ground it, but I can tell you that it feels "wrong" to me when superficial nit-picking is used to avoid deep questions and maintain an imperfect status quo.

True, but your buddy Paul opened up that can of worms. On a seemingly dead thread. Hmmm....attention starved, anyone?

On Feb.17.2004 at 09:13 AM