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your theory on design theory

Like most people I sort my web bookmarks into folders so I can find them. Like a lot of people, my categories probably don’t always make much sense. The most heterogeneous—okay, the most confused—folder is labeled “design theory.” What does that mean? If I knew, the folder might make more sense.

Theory always gets designers shouting: “I have no use for theory; I work in the real world!” or “Everything is based on theory; some people are just unaware or dishonest!” You’re welcome to go ahead and shout but first what does “design theory” (or “graphic design theory”) mean to you?

Does the phrase evoke Jean Baudrillard, Jakob Nielsen, or Donis A. Dondis? Why people trust a web page, how people buy stuff, which rectangle is better, what design does to social order, who gains political and economic power—which is graphic design theory? If it’s all of those things, what’s most central to what you think of as graphic design theory?

Is graphic design theory part of design theory or part of communication theory or part of critical theory or is it so eclectic that it stands on its own?

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ENTRY DETAILS
ARCHIVE ID 2142 FILED UNDER Design Academics
PUBLISHED ON Nov.15.2004 BY Gunnar Swanson
WITH 52 COMMENTS
Comments
Randy’s comment is:

Graphic Design Theory resides, as both a sub-set of Design Theory and a fertilizer for Design Theory.

See a quick illustration:

Design Theory, as I've known it and interact with it seems to come from the converging discourse on graphic design, industrial design, architecture, information, and experience design.

I know we can go back and forth, unresolved, on those divisions and what they entail. What's important is that Graphic Design is part of that collected "fertilizer," as I call it, that has grown into a theory that in most cases is not insular. Design Theory, and therefore Graphic Design theory, evaluate and explain Communication, Art. Language, Business, Science, Computer Science, and Technology.

No intentions to imply that this is historically accurate, but rather that it is an observation of where things currently stand. Do you agree?

To answer Gunnar's question about what is most central: as illustrated, design is central. I'd welcome someone's words that can better explain that if they agree. It is a bit vague as-is.

On Nov.15.2004 at 06:59 PM
Steve Mock’s comment is:

I think there would be a lot of math links in mine. Golden Ratio, geometry, trigonometry, physics, logic, etc.

A friend once asked, "How does music work?" After a few rounds of explaining things like how to make a chord, we realized he was really asking, "Why does music work?"

It's math. The mother of all harmony.

On Nov.15.2004 at 08:23 PM
Jason T’s comment is:

I have a headache thinking about all of this, but I do get a giggle thinking about what one of my mentors called theory (of any kind): masturbation. I suppose inverting Randy's graphic delivers an equal punchline—placing fertilizer near theory.

Design theory is the worst kind of masturbation, in that as designers, we produce. That's one of our jobs. It's our primary job. Engaging in theory has value, but I tend to feel guilty when engaging in theory for too long because I'm not making things. Instead, I'm talking about making things, how to make things, what things look like, or why things are made.

There isn't one thing that denotes design theory for me. But what intrigues me the most is when a designer can mix theory with practice—producing while investigating. Crankbrook’s mode of study interests me the most for this reason. Students engage in a practice directed by value and critical thought. What would happen if more designers worked like this?

And would they be able to do so through a client/designer relationship? Cranbrook has been criticized for producing students that fail to operate in a traditional design environment. That's a harsh generalization, but most Cranbrook grads I've met (or know) do work for educational institutions. Universities provide a fluid environment for them to maintain research and independent investigations. Others will find placement in high profile firms, or sustain their own practice.

Design theory is young. It has a long way to go. Should it be modeled after what architecture has done through Derrida? Or are we closer to communication, history, film, and comparative literature?

On Nov.15.2004 at 09:12 PM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

> Cranbrook has been criticized for producing students that fail to operate in a traditional design environment... ...most Cranbrook grads I've met (or know) do work for educational institutions.

This is a fallacy. Off the top of my head: Allen Hori, Richard Bates (ex-Senior VP of Creative at Atlantic Records), Abigail Shachet (the interior designer who just re-designed our space), and Masamichi Udagawa (co-designer of the newest line of NYC Subways). All four approach their work thoughtfully and with great sensitivity — and on time and within budget.

Second fallacy dispelled: design theory is an analytical device, not a generative one! One doesn't approach a project with a Baurillard-ian idee fixe; one approaches it by listening to the client's needs, giving it some thought, then executing the outcome of the thought/sketch process.

I'm going to go out on a limb here, but I suspect that most — if not all — clients don't give a flying f**k if you've read Derrida. On the other hand, if you've made a presentation to the client and they come back with a critique; then that's the moment a little theory could come in handy — in the analysis of the work. If one approaches the project with a 'theoretical' bent, then one is simply illustrating the theory — not designing for the client.

Finally, to the question 'is graphic design theory part of design theory, communication theory, et. al...' I would suggest that (graphic) design theory is like film theory: a cribbed-together kludge of literary theory, psychoanalysis, semiotics, post-structuralism and philosophy. All analysis, little generation.

On Nov.15.2004 at 10:00 PM
Randy’s comment is:

>It's math. The mother of all harmony.

I'll probably get hit with a theory-stick, but I tend to think of science and math under the same umbrella. Math is huge part of graphic design, not props to me for having minimized it.

>All analysis, little generation.

Since graphic design theory truly is in its infancy, now is the perfect opportunity to counter this. There are ways to be theoretical, productive, appropriate, and successful simultaneously. When this happens publicly (whether to a client or a design audience), theory will not seem so irrelevant to such a pragmatic practice. Does anyone else feel like this is coming around a not-to-distant bend?

On Nov.15.2004 at 10:36 PM
Dyske’s comment is:

If you know something about writing music, you know how useful musical theories can be. If you are an intuitive type who never studied theories, you are likely to keep on writing the same kind of music forever. And, eventually you will feel like a one-trick pony.

What is useful about any type of theory is that it allows you to draw deductive conclusions. Say for instance, you are writing a song, and you have a nice chord progression going, but somehow you can’t figure out how to resolve it or transition it to the next section. If you know your theory, you can analyze the progression you have so far, and deduce what chords would theoretically allow you to resolve or transition it nicely. This is the same in physics. Newtonian physics, for instance, can predict where the ball would land.

The same can be said of graphic design. If you rely solely on the emotional side of yourself, and never listen to your rational side, or vice versa, sooner or later your creative life will stagnate. You need both sides challenging one another in order for you to grow as a human being.

The reason why use of theories is not common in graphic design is because not many people quantify the result of graphic design. In industrial design, for instance, people understand that the design alone could make or break the product. Much of Apple’s success has been attributed to their design. The same goes for Aeron chairs. The value of an industrial designer is quantifiable in dollars, at least much more so than that of a print designer.

The value of an architect is more quantifiable too, because people use their products every day. In time, you will see if something worked as expected. I’ve seen new buildings in New York where no one wanted to move in, even though they looked quite slick. It doesn’t matter how talented you think you are; when you face this kind of problem, you have nowhere to hide as an architect.

Within graphic design, Web design is more quantifiable than print design for the same reason; a website is a tool that people use every day. By observing and quantifying the behaviors of the users, you can learn what aspects of your design were effective and ineffective.

In print, this type of analysis or quantification is rarely done, because there is no practical way to gather data. If you don’t have the data, it’s difficult to formulate a theory.

Because of the quantification, architects, product designers, and web designers are usually more aware of how their products are marketed than print designers are. They work closely with marketers, because what they do have some degree of marketing already integrated into it. The design of iPod, for instance, is a marketing strategy. When you have to be directly accountable for the financial results, you can’t help but care about it.

A similar analogy can be drawn between TV commercials for branding and direct response TV commercials. The former is not quantifiable, whereas the latter is. With the former, theories aren’t really theories, but opinions, because there is no tangible way to back up or prove your claims. With direct response spots, you can quantify the results and come up with theories that could predict certain behaviors of the audience in the future.

Many art directors and writers abuse the fact that we cannot quantify the results of branding commercials. They try to satisfy their own creative urge or egos by using someone else’s money. And, they get away with it, at least to a degree. Many Superbowl spots are fun, entertaining, and beautiful, but we often don’t even remember who the commercials were for. The last thing these art directors want is anyone trying to quantify their results. Now, many advertisers are shifting their money to the Internet where the results are far more quantifiable.

I believe many print designers too take advantage of the fact that the results of their products are not quantifiable. In this sense, theories can be threatening to them. It can be seen as a way to make them be accountable for the results. It would reduce the amount of their freedom of self-expression. I would therefore argue that theories are good for clients, but bad for designers who are looking to satisfy their own creative urge with someone else’s money.

But there are also theories that serve no purpose for the clients. Many artists, architects, and designers use the names of prestigious critical theorists and philosophers to substantiate their own work. This is a strategy that works really well especially in fine arts. The idea here is to associate names like Derrida, Baudrillard, and Wittgenstein to your work so that it would appear deeper and more substantial than it actually is. You drop these names but you never explain why you think they are relevant to your work. You just hide behind the mystique of their ideas and your art. This is quite unfortunate since it reflects badly on these theorists. Derrida probably suffered the most from this phenomenon, where many people began dismissing his ideas based on the commercialized interpretations of his ideas.

I feel that if you are going to use their names, you should explain in logical terms (just as they do) why you are making the association. As long as you explain this, it is perfectly fine to misunderstand them, since your misunderstanding would be clear to the readers. But instead, many artists and designers drop these names, never explain anything, hide behind the mystique, benefit from the association, and spread disinformation and misunderstanding. This is certainly a bad use of theories.

On Nov.16.2004 at 01:27 AM
Bradley’s comment is:

I concur, as a musician and a designer.

I think the objective for the white-collar designer is to use theory, even if only as an instinctive answer to the tough roadblocks in design, as opposed to talking about theory all day long. Spin, spin.

In my own life, information architecture, design theory, ultra-post-modern design, and the list goes on... These things are my hobby. They are off the clock, out of the office, away from the design board. While some people and businesses may be able to justify a reasonable investment in these things from 9 to 5, it just doesn't work as an overall trend in business. But as an outside interest, such things influence me as a designer, and ultimately penetrate my life from 9 to 5 for the better. Visibly. With tangible results.

On Nov.16.2004 at 09:00 AM
Andrew Twigg’s comment is:

I can't possibly respond to everything written above me in this post and still make it to my 1:00 class on time, so let me answer Gunnar's last question:

Graphic Design theory is largely based on Critical/Literary Theory, just like the vast majority of all Theory applied to Art, Architecture, Communication, etc. Some theory makes its way from the Social Sciences (Psychology's Gestalt Theory, as an example). I'm certain there are other "independently-informed" discipline Theories I'm missing, but a lot of these rely upon LIterary Theory anyway, especially in light of concepts such as "the Text" and the use of language (because everything tries to communicate, and isn't everything communicative "language" anwyay?).

One of the problems with Design Theory is that it is not largely developed beyond what it has referenced from other disciplines. While there is a call for Design as a discpline to engage in research (e.g., Marcia Lausen of UIC at this year's FutureHistory) which would hopefully lead to Design's own Theory, our discipline has at this point failed to broadly engage in activites which would lead to the development of such Texts.

So, for the meantime, I'll find myself referring to works of those such as Roland Barthes, Marx, and recently passed Jacques Derrida, as well as a bit of Social Science. And if Design ever gets around to its own thing, then maybe my Design Theory bookmark will actually have some semblance of order.

On Nov.16.2004 at 09:22 AM
Dyske’s comment is:

Hi Andrew,

In architecture, it is relatively easy to see why social, political, and literary theories can play a significant role. For instance, read “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” by Jane Jacobs. As an architect or an urban planner, you are designing a space where people interact with one another. In other words, you are designing a community. You can influence the way people behave within that space. You can encourage or discourage certain behaviors. For instance, putting executive offices on the first floor, as opposed to the top floor, would have certain political, social, and philosophical implications. This is true of web design as well. The type of behaviors and contents this very site, Speak-up, encourages or discourages is not coincidental. The design of this site greatly influence them. I would expect more significant theories to come out in web design and information architecture.

Print design, on the other hand, is not interactive. It’s one-way communication. The extent to which social theories can help you improve your design is limited. Some people disagree by pointing to designers like Tibor Kalman, but the activist aspect of Kalman is not graphic design. He simply exploited activism to sell more products and promote brands. That falls in the realm of advertising. Graphic designers are in charge of how specific messages are delivered, but it is not our job to come up with those messages. You can apply social theories to the means of delivering messages, but there isn’t much to play with, mainly because print design isn’t interactive. This is not to say that theories in graphic design are useless; it is just that they won’t be as social, political, and philosophical as those of architecture and web design.

On Nov.16.2004 at 10:05 AM
Andrew Twigg’s comment is:

Dyske

Yes, you're right about the limitation of social sciences in "one-way" communication, but it's not totally out of the question that it comes in handy. Psychology has a great deal to offer in terms of how the brain understands communication, particularly when it comes to sensation and perception and cognitive psychology (perception as a direct result of sensation, not going into things such as semiotic senstation, etc), schemas, templates, and the like.

Some graphic designers have made careers of creating interactive work, and, as you said, for those people, models and Theories from the Social Sciences may have a lot more to offer.

But having studied Psychology, Mass Communication Theory, Cultural Studies, and Art, I can tell you that I call from my education in the Social Sciences in addition to the other disciplines even in my print design. Don't misunderstand that I think I am a master (or a Master) of Theory from within these disciplines - I am far from it - but the understanding of one can be augmented by the other, and even if in minor ways, the Social Sciences can be of value to the designer who is "only" creating print pieces. And for that reason, I still believe in the importance of the Social Sciences to Design Theory.

On Nov.16.2004 at 10:33 AM
graham’s comment is:

teeny bit gloomy on here at the mo (tinged perhaps with a tad of ennui perhaps?) . . . someone (dyske, you rascal) might well seem to have gotten out of the design bed on the wrong side . . . what happens when a client sneaks up to you and all mysteriously whispers their naughty desire for something . . . expressive (oooooh) . . . or even that they need you to collaborate so closely with them (and maybe you even feel an affinity with what they're up to) because they actually . . . like (gasp) what you do and want you to (gasp) "come up with those messages"?

goodness gracious on the non-interactivity of print, too.

what about pop-up books?

sneaking back to the topic: john chris jones, victor papanek, why even rand's first book-although john chris jones designing designing i'd say would be the best 'design' theory book i've read . . . but then . . . andrey tarkovsky's sculpting in time seemed so relevant at the point i read it-then relevant again later in terms of how much i came to disagree (with it's casting of the creator as something like an ayn randian omni-being)-and then george steiner's language and silence (and schoenberg's style and idea-now there's an answer to the debate over . . . well, style and idea) and then wittgenstein, and then . . . but wait-this must all seem deeper and more substantial than it actually is.

here's a thing, dyske-perhaps the function of the occasional piece of art and even maybe design might actually be to spread disinformation and misunderstanding?

does this still make it bad?

or just . . . dirty?

On Nov.16.2004 at 01:06 PM
Dyske’s comment is:

they need you to collaborate so closely with them (and maybe you even feel an affinity with what they're up to) because they actually . . . like (gasp) what you do and want you to (gasp) "come up with those messages"?

This is what I argued to be “advertising” not graphic design. I am not saying that you should not do this; it is just that theories concerning this aspect of communication would not be considered graphic design theory.

what about pop-up books?

Naturally there are some interactive print design, but pop-up books would most likely be designed by industrial/product designers. It is a highly specialized area.

here's a thing, dyske-perhaps the function of the occasional piece of art and even maybe design might actually be to spread disinformation and misunderstanding? does this still make it bad?

If your intention is to spread misunderstanding and disinformation, then I would say it’s good, but I was speaking of situations where they were not intentional.

One note: Graham, I don’t appreciate your cynicism. Project whatever emotion you like to the writings of others, but don’t assume it and ridicule it.

On Nov.16.2004 at 02:01 PM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

> Print design, on the other hand, is not interactive. It’s one-way communication.

Not quite Dyske, besides graham's pop-up books, there's the structuralist axiom that the reader completes the text — that there is no semiotic process without the reader.

I fear that people are confusing Theory with Method or Technique. Theory explains after the fact. That bears repeating: Theory explains after the fact.

We can have Theory in mind when we design; but the execution of the design is the result of Technique, the result of Method and yes, knowing the results of past pieces (a.k.a. Theory).

In response to the music theory issue: music theory describes harmonic relationships and music 'grammar'. The playing of notes within context, the placing of type and images within context and the usage of words in context — with creativity — make up only part of a language.

What are the hallmarks of a language? Grammar, vocabulary, context, and creativity.

If one uses a Homer Simpson "doh!" to ridicule someone, they are not necessarily following the rules of grammar but relying on context and creativity to convey meaning. This is similar to Don Pullen atonally slamming his forearm across the piano keyboard, or David Carson not breaking words at syllabic points. In all cases you could say that there is a grammatical or theoretical term for each; but you haven't touched on what Roland Barthes called the Third Meaning, which is the unspeakable, undefinable aspect of what we do.

On Nov.16.2004 at 04:39 PM
Ruben Sun’s comment is:

It seems that some where the discussion drifted from went from "what design theory means to you" towards "what is design theory."

I believe both questions to be important, however, wanted to highlight a few points in further clarifying where the discussion was heading while asserting some of my own opinions at the end. Forgive my crudeness in etching out my thoughts it's been a while since I've studied theory at length.

RE: Theory as Generative or Analytical.

Your position on this has complete bearing on what you believe to be the relationship between theory, truth and reality. Depending on how rigorous those relationships are will determine whether theory can or cannot be generative.

In the case that one recognizes human fallibility and concedes to it, theory is twice removed from reality and cannot touch reality (note. my use of the word "concede" is not a value judgment).

In the case that reality adheres to truth absolutely and the commitment of the individual to hold theory to truth is strong enough; theory would not be held with much value at all. The individual that holds this position regards unpracticed theory (un-generating theory) as worthless.

RE: Graphic Design.

The value of theory in regards to graphic design, the value of graphic design period has everything to do with what you read in how graphic design itself is defined. Some will inherently read in the "why" along with the "how".

Where my conceit rears its ugly head:

I must agree with Randy and Jason here. If we are to be committed to the graphic design as a profession we must be committed to the value of graphic design and read in the social values of graphic design. The difficulty from there on is whether we commit to that vision of graphic design in crafting a theory that might better aid us in moving towards that vision and keeping us accountable to that vision.

I must also contest another point. If graphic design, in its application in print design is what largely allowed or drove towards the rise of corporate branding (we see here the differentiation of graphic design and visual communication in general? if that's how you want to differentiate those...) is print design not a two-way communication? Print design in providing the means of building up the corporation, does dialogue with the public sphere at large in at least one way. It is indeed then a discourse it informs and is informed by the public sphere at large.

On Nov.16.2004 at 04:46 PM
graham’s comment is:

Dyske: i tell you what i feel right chastised and scolded now. how about i'll promise to stop making assumptions when you promise to stop making assumptions too?

the pop-up books was a joke. it seemed to me to be the most economical way to deal with the idea that print is not interactive.

On Nov.16.2004 at 04:53 PM
Steven’s comment is:

To the point of defining which theory is a subset of another, I find it difficult to define specific, exclusive boundaries for each. While seeming solid at the center, each theory tends to blur at the edges becoming conditional to others. There is a dynamic inter-relationship between things that defies crisp specificity. Context oozes out between the walls of convenient and tidy compartmentalization.

Theories are like a mound of autumn leaves. You reach out and grab a big bunch and define it as something. But in doing so, you realize that a number still lay on the ground, and a number are slipping out of your grasp and falling to the ground, as well.

A printed piece exists an object, and therefore may seem to symbolize finite thinking. But in reality, it exists within a churning, dynamic environment and it is merely a moment of solidification within a general process of evolution. A capabilities brochure, for instance, states the abilities and context in which a company or organization exists. But its relevance is only temporal and will become outdated as the company/organization evolves and adapts to changing conditions. Moreover, within a specific moment, that brochure may also relate to a Web site, ad banners, TV commercials, direct mail, etc. On top of this, there are all sorts of unspoken personal, subjective, and emotive agendas and interests that manifest themselves within any given printed piece.

All this in saying, graphic design does not exist in isolation. Therefore, any graphic design theory must be pluralistic and inclusive. To be honest, IMHO, all design practices -- be they architecture, industrial, Web, print, or whatever -- must embrace pluralism in one form or another. Multiplicity exists in everything.

Also, I consider design to be the recursive flow of process and object; theory and artifact. One can never be separated from another. And one is never dominant over the other. They are dynamically dependent on one another. So for me, any design theory must embrace both of these aspects.

For more of what design theory means to me, please visit here. (Apologies for not having it updated. It's need of attention but I've been busy on a number of fronts. But it nonetheless stands as a statement or sorts.)

So Gunnar, I'd say enjoy and indulge in the heterogeneous messiness of that "design theory" folder. It sounds great!

On Nov.16.2004 at 05:48 PM
Dyske’s comment is:

Graham, that's a deal. :)

On Nov.16.2004 at 05:52 PM
Greg’s comment is:

This is what I argued to be “advertising” not graphic design.

As if they were that easily seperable. Graphic design without the advertising perspective is like archetecture without the building, or web design without the internet. Seperate the two and you've got nothing but art. But even art tries to convince, doesn't it?

Interactivity is in the mind, not the fingers. Print design interacts with the viewer's eyes and brain by making people think about the things they see. If that's not "communication" to you then you need a new dictionary.

Now the question:

Graphic = formed by writing

Design = planned result

Theory = assumed principles

I realize these are generalizations, but from the definitions that apply to this discussion one could say that graphic design theory is the assumption that we can plan the result of our writing/drawing via basic principles. What those principles are is anyone's guess, and the subject of heated debate I'm sure. For me, emotion is key. But that's not what you asked, is it?

On Nov.16.2004 at 06:30 PM
Randy’s comment is:

Thanks Dyske for breaking it down with the music analogy. As a trained designer and untrained (or minimally trained) musician, I can personally attest to the value of theory in generation.

When it comes to music, I long to have deeper knowledge of theory that will “explain after the fact”( - M Kingsley). That would allow me to make more informated decisions about how craft songs in the future. Whether I choose to buy into the theory or not remains a creative choice, but the knowledge and ability to use it are endlessly valuable.

Graphic Design Theory need not be a guiding light, but a lantern to aid in seeing your current condition when the ambient light and your eyesight are not enough.

On Nov.16.2004 at 06:33 PM
Randy’s comment is:

>graphic design theory is the assumption that we can plan the result of our writing/drawing via basic principles

Aye, mate!

On Nov.16.2004 at 06:36 PM
Dyske’s comment is:

Hi Ruben,

I want to avoid discussing what theory is here. It will quickly get too abstract and too off-topic. If you want to discuss it, I would be happy to do so privately via email.

For me, the definition of “graphic designer” is determined by the market. Occasionally some clients will stretch the conventional definition of it, and ask me to be part of crafting the message, but I would not take this for granted. I think many of us, designers, are susceptible to what I would call false pride. I’m going to quote Wittgenstein:

“Often, when I have had a picture well framed or have hung it in the right surroundings, I have caught myself feeling as proud as if I had painted it myself.”

This is exactly what many of us end up doing when we do our work as graphic designers. We forget that the messages we help to communicate aren’t our own. We design something that has significant social value, and we delude ourselves into thinking that it was our own message. And this leads to further delusion that, as graphic designers, we are automatically qualified as expert social critics.

When we work as “graphic designers”, we are not hired to give our social, philosophical, or political opinions. We need to draw a line here. It is this humility and the understanding of our positions that give our profession great value. Many people take this to mean graphic designers are too superficial or stupid to have any substantial opinions. Not at all. It is only when we are acting as graphic designers that I feel we should have this humility, and not allow ourselves to have false pride. If you have something to say of your own, by all means, you should say it, but not through your paying clients and with their money.

I am proud of my own career as a designer. I enjoy it very much. Big part of the reason why I enjoy it is because I know where to draw the line. It is when you overstep your boundaries that all sorts of misunderstandings, conflicts, and frustrations arise.

Re: Two-way communication

I believe theory of branding is an entirely different subject. In branding, graphic design is only a small aspect of it. And, I agree, in theory of branding, incorporating various social sciences would be beneficial.

I would argue that it is not print design that gave rise to branding, but marketing; branding is a specific strategy in marketing. It certainly was not limited to print design. The idea of brand was used on everything from TV/radio commercials, sneakers, clothing, cameras, cars, phones, and flags.

On Nov.16.2004 at 06:49 PM
Dyske’s comment is:

Hi Mr. Kingsley,

Not quite Dyske, besides graham's pop-up books, there's the structuralist axiom that the reader completes the text — that there is no semiotic process without the reader.

I think we are slipping away from the point of my argument. I used the word “interactive” in a specific way in a specific context. Taken outside of it and literally, there are many ways to counter my statement, but not all of them will be constructive.

What I meant by “interactive” was that you can monitor and quantify the effectiveness of your product and get some sort of data back from it. Print design can do this to some degree, but nowhere as much as web design or architecture. Even if your reader is interacting with your print design, say he is really impressed with it, and holding it above his head and crying, there is no way for you to know this (unless of course he contacted you about it).

Theory explains after the fact.

This is true, but this should not prevent you from taking advantage of it to better your chances of success. Just because the apple fell to the ground today, does not necessarily mean that it will tomorrow, but there is a good chance of it. As long as you don’t delude yourself into thinking that nature conforms to theory, it’s OK to take advantage of theories to predict the future.

You lost me in your response about music. I’m not sure what your point is. Please elaborate. I understand what you are saying, but I don’t understand how it relates to what we are discussing here.

On Nov.16.2004 at 07:36 PM
Randy’s comment is:

I must bow out for the evening, but I look forward to seeing where this discussion goes.

On Nov.16.2004 at 08:57 PM
Steven’s comment is:

Why does theory have to explain after the fact? I don't agree that theory is reactive. This seems quite odd. Don't we theorize when we design? And even if you need to compartmentalize this as methodology, that methodology exists as an interconnected bridge between idea and action, which is still a part of theory.

In relation to the mythical objectivity of our profession, as graphic designers, or any other kind of designer for that matter, we cannot help but imbue our work with some form of personalization, in all sorts of subtle ways. The choice of fonts and their proportional relationships; the choice of colors and their relationships: the texture and weight of paper: These are all personal choices that we make as designers that, by-in-large, are completely under the radar when it comes to the concerns of the average client. Yet it is a very personal statement that is being made. And I would contend that, even on a perhaps subconscious level, a client identifies and resonates with these idiosyncrasies. Indeed it is these relationships that help to differentiate each of us from one another. Also, I would also contend that we cannot help but be a whole person with opinions and such. These will invariably leak out in various ways, overtly or subtly. And frankly, clients interact and engage with us because they, in one way or another, have a certain amount of sympathy or empathy with us as human beings.

On Nov.16.2004 at 09:23 PM
Kenneth FitzGerald’s comment is:

And the serpent (Gunnar) tempted me.

The phrase evokes Robert Pirsig. Theory is an inquiry into values and morals. It is generative, and constant--or transcendent (to propose a third way to the active/reactive dispute). It's a metaphorical articulation of the quality experience.

On Nov.17.2004 at 12:26 AM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

> I think we are slipping away from the point of my argument. I used the word “interactive” in a specific way in a specific context. Taken outside of it and literally, there are many ways to counter my statement, but not all of them will be constructive.

> What I meant by “interactive” was that you can monitor and quantify the effectiveness of your product and get some sort of data back from it. Print design can do this to some degree, but nowhere as much as web design or architecture.

Dyske, I think you're riding two different horses here. You seem to be critiquing graham and myself for being too literal in our interpretation of your use of "interactive"; yet your clarification is even more literal than ours.

My response to the music theory issue was based on earlier comments equating music theory to design theory. In both cases, theory describes what you do; but it doesn't (or at least shouldn't) direct what you do. I've had many experiences where the "wrong" gesture was the best gesture. In such an instance, adherence to Theory is limiting.

> Why does theory have to explain after the fact? I don't agree that theory is reactive. This seems quite odd. Don't we theorize when we design? And even if you need to compartmentalize this as methodology, that methodology exists as an interconnected bridge between idea and action, which is still a part of theory.

Steven, in this case I feel it's important to compartmentalize for the sake of clarity. There have been way too many threads on Speak Up on """""Theory!""""" that end up in quotes from favorite philosophers, platitudes and bromides, and bad po-mo speak. And many of the discussions flail about due to a lack of rhetorical rigor. So just that I'm not too misunderstood, my loose definition of "theory" is: a conclusion, explanation, tentative concept, model or analysis which is based on observation, experimentation or reasoning which describes or defines phenomena, behavior, circumstances or relationships. Hopefully that's loose enough...

So Steven, for the sake of this particular argument, I would suggest that the "theorizing" done while designing is more akin to applied philosophy because you're applying your reasoned sensibility and values.

Your second paragraph suggests that we can agree on this point.

> Theory is an inquiry into values and morals. It is generative, and constant--or transcendent (to propose a third way to the active/reactive dispute). It's a metaphorical articulation of the quality experience.

Kenneth, like in Steven's comments, I think you're more describing philosophy than theory. And your evocation of Pirsig leads me to believe that you, Steven and myself are all dancing around the same philosophical issues of being well-rounded and thoughtful designers.

The neurotic hand-wringing over theory: teaching design theory to design students, how theory can "save" design, using theory to improve design's place in society, et. al. is just that — neurotic behavior. Yes, it helps to know many kinds of theories — linguistic, philosophical, semiotic, color, legibility... — but one also needs to know a hell of a lot of other stuff too.

I, myself, see design as a vehicle for personal development and experience. It forces us to try and get into the heads of other people, it's a way to broaden our experience plus get paid at the same time, and it allows me to meet more kinds of seriously capable folks while wearing jeans.

To keep up and remain competitive requires vigilant thoughtfulness. Theory and rigor are only part of that requirement.

On Nov.17.2004 at 02:34 AM
ps’s comment is:

in theory, the wine that i'm interacting with tonight is quite good. actually drinking it makes it taste far better (mr. kingsley, you would like it..). now, if i'll overdue it, i will have a headache tomorrow. that probably goes for any sort of theory.

i think theory of any sort, gives you a chance to make whatever you are doing more interesting. some might not care, others might care a great deal. it might also offer a chance to understand better what you are doing. and by doing so, helping you justify whatever that is. too much theory might get in the way of reality. i don't think it matters what kind of theory it is.

i don't think graphic design theory is lagging behind. by its nature it should be connected to other theories. trying to create its own specialized "theory niche" might more be a trend, wich of course is a reflection of the current environment. i think it is wrong to look at it as not being there yet. graphic design theory on its own might be like a dyson vacum cleaner without any dust to suck up. i think good graphic design has always involved plenty of theory. its strength might have been that it did not require a text book. but maybe it did require understanding the environment.

i'm not going to comment on interactivity -- different topic. different theory. different grape.

On Nov.17.2004 at 02:50 AM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

Peter, something's in the air this evening. I too, have been enjoying Bacchus' gift to mortals — in this case, an amazing home-brew made by my barber in his basement. For the past year we've spoken about which grapes he was selecting, choices in enzymes and barrels, the virtues of the amarone/passito method of drying grapes, and what kind of cheese to have with it. And when the time finally arrived for me to claim my bottle, I had a certain degree of apprehension because I knew his thoughts too well. Thank goodness the drops on my tongue surpass all the talking.

Wine has certain linguistic properties: vocabulary, grammar, context and creativity; and my barber approached his hobby with his own knowledge of wine theory. But, like the best kind of design; it was the ethereal combination of fluctuating elements (science; art; and in the case of wine, agriculture), touched by the gods, that produced this hedonistic brew.

The proof is always in the glass, and no amount of theory's gonna save a corked bottle.

So who's coming over for lunch to help me finish this bottle?

On Nov.17.2004 at 03:39 AM
Steven’s comment is:

Yes! Generative, yet constant: in other words, recursive. This exactly relates to what I was trying to say in my original post.

By the way, Kenneth, I really enjoyed your article in Emigre 67 (Buzz Kill). I applaud your illuminating the "fantastic four of critical avoidance." Hopefully, it will help dissuade those that are inclined to use them. And yeah, criticism does indeed need a "diversity of opinion" -- not to mention "explication."

On Nov.17.2004 at 03:59 AM
Steven’s comment is:

Okay, something is in the air tonight. I just finished off a couple of glasses of wine m'self. Although it wasn't nearly as good as the 14 year-old barolo we had for my wife's 40th b-day last Saturday. That was something quite special indeed. Herbaceousness with structured fruit and soft tanins. Yummmmmy!

Mark, point well taken about the difference between theory and philosophy, although I think it would be helpful to have your loose definition of philosophy, to compare the two.

In the meantime. Cheers! And goodnight.

On Nov.17.2004 at 04:26 AM
Kenneth FitzGerald’s comment is:

Kenneth, like in Steven's comments, I think you're more describing philosophy than theory. And your evocation of Pirsig leads me to believe that you, Steven and myself are all dancing around the same philosophical issues of being well-rounded and thoughtful designers.

I don't think I'm dancing but standing four-square (three physical dimensions plus time) on what it means to be thoughful--without differentiation of academic labels or creative discipline.

And thanks, Steven.

On Nov.17.2004 at 09:06 AM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

> Mark, point well taken about the difference between theory and philosophy, although I think it would be helpful to have your loose definition of philosophy, to compare the two.

How's this: speculative (rather than observational) inquiry into beliefs, existence, knowledge, values and morals (to crib from Kenneth FitzGerald). I'm using that statement as neutrally as possible — without attributing any personal judgements to 'beliefs', 'values' or 'morals'.

On Nov.17.2004 at 03:45 PM
Steven’s comment is:

Well okay, I guess I'm still a little uncertain about the differences between theory and philosophy; applied theory versus applied philosophy (if those terms are correct).

I'm inferring that one is born of reason and one is from speculation. Yet, to a certain degree, isn't reason somewhat speculative, given that it could be conditional to context, i.e. opinion. I'm reminded of a quote (from Habermas?) that says that "rationality is concensual subjectivity." (I don't need to get deeply into Habermas!!!)

Do others see this difference?

Give me clarity!... Or at least a claret. ;—)

On Nov.17.2004 at 09:55 PM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

Steven, theory is developed from observation and philosophy from speculation. Reason is a method used by both. Context determines relationships. Opinion is developed (hopefully) through the exercise of reason. You can have an opinion about theory, and an opinion about philosophy, and an opinion about rationality, and an opinion about whether endless discussions about consensual subjectivity get you anything besides a degree in philosophy.

Methodology (aka design practice) is a whole other story. In the "Nudging" issue of Emigre, Jeffry Keedy suggests that Methodology is part of Design Theory. On that particular non-issue of nomenclature we disagree. But he suggests that theory can inspire designers — yet when designers insist on the potential for theory to be directly relevant, it's no longer capable of inspiration. This is probably one of the best ways I've come across to describe the whole theory/practice issue that comes up in every design philosophy thread on Speak Up.

On Nov.18.2004 at 12:52 AM
Steven’s comment is:

Okay this seems pretty lucid, but I'm going to need to think about all of this over night. Maybe I'll send you an e-mail tomorrow, if you have the inclination to reply to more of my questions. You are indeed rigorous with all of this stuff (in a somewhat refreshing way).

On Nov.18.2004 at 03:27 AM
Mark Notermann’s comment is:

Dyske:

"We need to draw a line here. It is this humility and the understanding of our positions that give our profession great value...

It is when you overstep your boundaries that all sorts of misunderstandings, conflicts, and frustrations arise."

Are the limits simply personal boundaries that you have to draw to stay sane?

As an early student of graphic design, I am most intrigued by this. I struggle often with where to draw the line. I find myself asking "what IS graphic design?"

In the search of a design solution (especially in the case of identity) I really want to put everything, I mean EVERYTHING on the table for consideration. I try to understand the business, it's existing audience, it's intended audience, and what it is trying to accomplish with this communication. I realize that this is really the realm of marketing.

I find that when the goals of a project are muddy, its either my job to help define them, or do crap work. Does this mean that I should strive only to work in situations where marketing decisions are consistent with project goals and I can be freed to work on graphic execution? Or is this the true challenge of the profession: to make a (sometimes very) poorly designed message readable and understandable, maybe even beautiful?

which brings me to Steven:

"graphic design does not exist in isolation"......."(A printed piece) exists within a churning, dynamic environment"

again, "what IS graphic design?" I realize we are in a field that is constantly changing. Design touches everything, and that is a great attraction to me. As graphic design is in a constant state of flux, how do we put limits on what it is?

Thanks All

On Nov.18.2004 at 05:00 AM
Mark Notermann’s comment is:

I realize the above post seems to drift away from theory, so I'll frame it a bit:

In my budding education, I explore theory (which occupies several folders of bookmarks in many disciplines, and tends to help drive the conceptual part of the work) and practice which I identify as the "mechanics".

The mechanical portion seems to me pretty straightforward, and there are theories to apply in execution, but this is just one segment of the total job. The conceptual part is where I start to get off track.

These are distinctions I should be considering now, while I'm in school, but I'm looking for clarity. The instruction seems to be unable to provide clear answers or direction, and looking at these posts, I see that the questions exist in the professional community.

On Nov.18.2004 at 01:12 PM
Steven’s comment is:

Mark Notermann —

I'm not sure if I can specifically answer your question. As I mention above, things seem solid in the center while blurring at the edge. In a very narrow, obvious sense, it's ink on paper (or paint on wall, etc.). But in the larger context, we facilitate communication (frequently across multiple mediums), help to clarify a client's perspectives and needs, and we can even be a catalyst to helping a client understand who they are. And these points don't even touch on how the roles of theory or philosophy play into the larger picture.

My only suggestion would be to perhaps accept this ambiguity -- and multiplicity -- and not try to put tidy limits or definitions on what graphic design means. In the longrun, this strategy will give you a richer, more rewarding perspective to you what you do and role you play in society at large. The quest for specificity will only bring up endless exceptions, which will only reinforce ignorance and self-righteousness.

On Nov.18.2004 at 04:47 PM
Dyske’s comment is:

Hi Mark,

The more often than not, the boundaries are not “personal”. Most competent firms would give you a job description that delineates what they expect of you. If you are running your own business, the boundaries should be clarified in your proposal or contract.

Incidentally, I too take the holistic approach of considering “EVERYTHING”, but taking a wide array of things into consideration is not the same as making decisions in those areas. If I agree to be a graphic designer, I might take marketing issues into consideration, but that is only to help me make decisions about graphic design. I am not going to fight with the marketer and tell him that I disagree with his marketing strategy. That is not my job.

The older you get, the more you realize how much you don’t know, and how much others know better. So, you don’t react so quickly to other people’s decisions, just because you think they are wrong. You operate under the assumption that other people know what they are doing. If it turns out that you were right, that’s great, but if you interfere, things will really get “muddy.” It would be difficult for you to see what contributed to the failure, and whose fault it was.

On Nov.18.2004 at 05:49 PM
Ruben Sun’s comment is:

I'm not sure that my first comment commenting on the complex semantics revolving this discussion were necessarily conveyed effectively.

In my opinion graphic design theory aims at firstly the what and the why of graphic design. My thoughts in doing so is that I tend to draw a distinction between graphic design and visual communication. I will be first to admit that it's an issue of semanics and a silly one at that. something that is altogether contestable. However, I feel that the mechanics and methodology of our craft can be studied as as it's own nebulous body of ideas... what you folks have been speaking at length on. This, I feel, is the study of the visual communication in it of itself: visual - the visually spatial, coloric, geometric... relationship between objects... and communication - the psychology, cultural... social influence in expression and in the reception of such expression.

Graphic design on the other hand implies an intensionality... a design in the construction of that graphic - visual communication. Design implies designer. Graphic Design theory thus yields the theory of the intentionality of visual communication. The focus here is on the word intentionality. This isn't to say that I'm focusing on what things ought and ought not be communicated that is, if you will, the ethics of mass communication. What I'm driving towards is what is the nature of this intentionality. What is the impact of intentioned visual communication (inherently I'm meaning the impact of mass communicative visual communication).

That said, I will agree with the many of you here that Graphic Design theory as I've drawn here does not help us in generating these intentioned communications and thus does not assist us as graphic designers. For that, for that we need to better understand the theory of visual communication thus allowing us to intention that communication.

I feel that if this whole exercise (discussion) is merely for us to understand what kind of theory assists us in being more effective graphic designers then... we've already established that and I quote Kingsley "The proof is always in the glass, and no amount of theory's gonna save a corked bottle." our attention is probably best directed towards the poster critiques.

But my feeling is that we discuss this to explore and perhaps justify the value of graphic design in the larger marketplace of ideas... am I wrong?

On Nov.19.2004 at 01:18 AM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

Ruben, don't all deliberate actions indicate intentionality? From there, to determine intention, we can turn to: psychology, anthropology, linguistics, history (personal and public), economics, marxism, etc. ...pre-existing ways to describe human activity.

To place the role and function of graphic design in the marketplace/society, you could use any or all of these disciplines as a vehicle for a critique. In my personal dictionary, that would function as 'design theory'.

I feel the discussion that we're having on this thread is a way to hash out a point of departure: what theory is or isn't, what its role is, etc. (Whether that coincides with Gunnar's intention in starting this thread has yet to be seen. He's either very canny in his silence or very distracted elsewhere.)

And I think you're absolutely correct, our attention is probably better directed towards critiques of individual objects or phenomena. Not the expression of opinion; but the exploration of the ethical and aesthetic attributes of a selected subject. There's a reason that art theory books have pictures of painting and sculpture.

On Nov.19.2004 at 04:09 AM
Gunnar Swanson’s comment is:

(Whether that coincides with Gunnar's intention in starting this thread has yet to be seen. He's either very canny in his silence or very distracted elsewhere.)

I have a vague memory of a cartoon where the one character said “How is your mother?” The other said “Why do you ask?” and the first replied “To find out.” Anyway, I’m not sure I had any intention other than finding out what “theory” means to different graphic designers.

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of agreement out there about what people are taking about when they argue about the value of theory so I wanted to get a range of answers. I’d like a broader ranger of reactions and reactors but you guys are cruising along well without me and at greater depth than I’d expected (and I am distracted elsewhere) so carry on.

On Nov.19.2004 at 12:27 PM
Tom Gleason’s comment is:

Design theory, at the most fundamental level, implies a theory of rationality with regard to the planning and production of anything. The concern for this theory of rationality is what is missing in design education today. If we are ever to understand what we do, we need to accept the new "design as ______", which is "design as rationality".

On Nov.19.2004 at 08:52 PM
Steven’s comment is:

Tom, I submit that a universally accepted definition of rationality will never be found and that humankind would be better off trying to understand and appreciate our interconnected subjectivities. Besides this paradigm of "design as rationality" has already been debunked by Deconstructivism.

On Nov.22.2004 at 02:44 PM
Gunnar Swanson’s comment is:

this paradigm of "design as rationality" has already been debunked by Deconstructivism

Care to be more specific?

On Nov.22.2004 at 02:54 PM
Steven’s comment is:

Okay Gunnar, I have to admit that I am no well-versed student of Deconstructivist theory. However, Mark Kingsley recently offered a link in his Derrida eulogy thread which was fairly lucid. Here's a quote, mentioned on this Web page, taken from the "Start of a four-page definition of deconstruction in A Dictionary of Critical Theory (London: Blackwell, 1996)"

"Deconstruction can perhaps best be described as a theory of reading which aims to undermine the logic of opposition within texts."

In other words, the standard Structuralist (or Rationalist) thinking would consider that there are empirically understood concepts, that for the sake of clarity, could be considered as "good" and "bad", or "logical" or "illogical", etc. So given the above quote, the function of Deconstructionism is to point out the contextual assumptions, prejudices, or paradoxes inherent within a "rational" or "logical" framework. Like a house of cards, once certain structural relationships have been debunked, the larger, macro-level rationalist assumptions and viewpoints fall apart too.

In Literature, one of the central things that Deconstructivism helped to debunk was the notion that author was the holder of Truth and Wisdom, supplanting it with the notion that it the writer is inherently self-biased and subjective. This shift shift in literary theory was later translated in graphic design theory into the notion that designers inherently design self-biased work which exhibits personal expression and cultural influence; thereby helping to create the explosion of expressive graphic design we saw in the late 80's ostensibly until the late 90's.

(So, Gunnar, I hope I have not mispoken terribly with what I have said so far: I hope that I have been reasonably accurate, from an academic standpoint. Apologies, if not. As I graduated from CCA[C] back in the early 80's, none of this thinking was readily available to me, and what I know has only come from perhaps hap-hazard, problematic self-investigation. However, I'm guessing that the intention of your question was to check to see if I was just sort of fatuously name-dropping. I hope I, at least marginally, passed the bullsh*t test. ;-) )

So, in relation to Tom's statement of a need for "design as rationality," I would contend that this notion has already been proven to be fraught with subjective pre-conditions and assumptions. I would also submit that the quest for rationality is nothing more than the quest for a convenient, universal security, when perhaps we might find more meaningful "security" in understanding our complexities and subjective natures, and then building bridges to aspects that resonate between us.

On Nov.22.2004 at 06:22 PM
Dyske’s comment is:

This is what my wife calls “Jibba-Jabba” but I can’t help being interested. This is my personal take on the issue of Deconstruction as applied to various fields.

this paradigm of "design as rationality" has already been debunked by Deconstructivism.

This is an inherently difficult subject to argue. A statement like this would contradict the very premise of Deconstruction. Deconstruction does not aim to “debunk” anything. That is, it does not prove anything to be wrong, since it cannot prove anything to be right. As soon as you make such a claim, it too will be deconstructed.

For me, most artwork, architecture, literature, or graphic design that claim to be “Deconstructivist” are problematic. I cannot see Deconstruction to be a theory that can be applied to anything. Deconstruction is a way of seeing things. Many people took it literally and started creating things by destroying. Deformed typefaces and cryptic texts, for instance, were taken to be representing what Deconstruction is. Just because communicating the truth is impossible, does not mean that we should abandon all attempts to communicate clearly. Derrida never endorsed such a thing.

For instance, our culture may subordinate the notion of feminine to masculine, but the goal of Deconstruction is not to reverse this hierarchy. I would further argue that it isn’t even to destroy this hierarchy. As soon as you attach yourself to such a concept, you are only creating yet another Logocentrism between non-hierarchy and hierarchy; you are subordinating the latter to the former. The goal of Deconstruction is to see this subordination in action and nothing more. Beyond seeing it, no further action is needed. There is nothing wrong with hierarchically opposing two concepts like feminine and masculine to make your logical argument, as long as you understand that the opposite could also be true if you were to reverse the hierarchy.

We are naturally scared of such a fluid state where nothing is ever anchored. To know what Deconstruction is, is to be in peace with this state of constant flux. Nothing is ever “debunked” in that state of mind.

Thus, I can’t see Deconstruction to be something we should or want to apply to graphic design. It can however be used to see it.

On Nov.23.2004 at 12:09 AM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

> Thus, I can’t see Deconstruction to be something we should or want to apply to graphic design. It can however be used to see it.

Because once the point of the piece you are designing is to 'deconstruct' something, then you're also illustrating deconstruction — and you're probably 'off message'.

Deconstruction as a strategy can be used as an editorial device say... on a poster, on a book or magazine cover — but it remains a highly dubious methodology when designing a package of fish sticks. ...at which point I would say "thank goodness we have marketing departments" ;)

On Nov.23.2004 at 12:42 AM
Steven’s comment is:

Okay, I admit to making somewhat inaccurate generalizations with respect to the specific analytical role of Deconstructivism in graphic design. However, I do uphold the notion that Deconstructivism was very effective at breaking the iron-grip of the myth of logical neutrality in 20th-century Modernism. And while I actually like some of very "wacked-out" design translations of deconstruction, I would agree that Deconstructivism is about "seeing" things more fully and subverting assumptions. It's not about establishing alternative solutions. Neither was I specifically advocating to communicate or design without clarity, nor was I promoting Deconstructivism as a design methodology. However I was promoting the notion that we should accept our biases and their contextual subjectivity for what they are, and from that point move forward. I'm not advocating the abandonment of "logic," just the misguided belief in its objective, neutral purity.

And in relation to Tom Gleason's original statement of a call to "design as rationality," I would still say that this ideal was "debunked" because rigid, linear Rationality or Functionalism was shown through Deconstructivism to be a contextually subjective and variable, and therefore not a universal and empirical system of understanding.

For me neither Rationalism/Functionalism nor Deconstructivism work as absolute theoretical guides. A more realistic "truth" lies somewhere between the two, which both includes and excludes them as it stands beside them. This kind of relationship was first brought to my attention in a book, Homeland Earth, by the French philosopher Edgar Morin. The preface to the book mentions Morin's "most ambitious work, La Methode "four volumes which have so far appeared..." in which Morin presents the notion of the dialogic which promotes the idea of a "symbiotic" combination of logics which are "at once complementary, concurrent, and antagonistic." Now I find this relationship to be quite compelling when applied to understanding and practicing design.

BTW, Monsieur Kingsley, most of his writing has not been translated into English, but you might find it interesting to read in French, if your language skills are up for the challenge. I remember a while back that you mentioned that you were studying French. (Malheureusement, mes capacités ne sont pas si grand. )

On Nov.23.2004 at 05:03 PM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

> (Malheureusement, mes capacités ne sont pas si grand. )

Moi, non plus... mais, j'y étais allés.

On Nov.23.2004 at 05:47 PM
graham’s comment is:

je t'aime, moi non plus.

On Nov.24.2004 at 04:12 AM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

The version with Bardot or Birkin?

On Nov.24.2004 at 03:32 PM