Speak UpA Former Division of UnderConsideration
The Archives, August 2002 – April 2009
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What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

“find your own way, follow someone elses, but for fucks sake whatever you do find a way. the thing of it is that it is soft and a bit abstract and really about love in the end but that is the hardest (as in face punch hard) thing and if you don’t believe that then you haven’t lived yet.” —graham wood

After all these years in the graphic design business, powerful and beautiful and even really ugly graphic design gets my heart pounding. It gives me that flittering, fluttering butterflies-in-the-stomach, knock-knee’d kind of feeling that I can only attribute to…love.

Why do you love graphic design? Why do you wake up every morning and go to your computer and start all over every single day? How did you fall in love with this profession in the first place?

And lastly, just to make this more interesting on a gloomy, somewhat overcast and drizzly Saturday morning in New York City…what is your favorite “love” graphic? Mine is this.

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PUBLISHED ON Aug.02.2003 BY debbie millman
Armin’s comment is:

> what is your favorite "love" graphic? Mine is this.

I have to agree, even though it might seem like the obvious — and mainstream — answer, it is one of the best representations of the word. I snapped this four-paneled lomo of the three-d version of it a year ago. I'm also a big fan of Michael Osborne's Love stamp for the Postal Service. Now unto the harder questions.

>Why do you love graphic design?

... this is hard. Harder than I thought.

There are so many things, but most of them are intangible. One thing I know for sure is that I love the process of Graphic Design. The outpour of ideas in that first moment when you take out the sketch pad or even when you open the first blank Illustator (8.0 of course) file and start laying out stuff. Looking for the right image, the right typeface, the perfect PMS color. Moving things around, printing it and seeing how much work you still have to put into it. That first meeting with the client when you present your visual concepts is always exhilarating, especially if they get excited with something you did. I even relish on the changes they ask for, it's always a challenge and sometimes a burden, but I love it — even if I course the client's name many times over. I love going to a press check and see whatever it is I'm doing rolling off the presses, the noise, the smell of fresh ink. The final product is just the icing on the cake — the process of design is what I love.

>How did you fall in love with this profession in the first place?

No clue. It just happened and I didn't have the guts to question it. I love it and that's that.

>Why do you wake up every morning and go to your computer and start all over every single day?

One thing that gets me going is really bad design. Yes, I am that snobby. I know bad design when I see it, and I love tearing it to pieces in my own head or even with my coworkers. I love seeing the aberrations that some people call design, it just adds fuel to the fire, it makes me want to prove somebody (not sure who) that design is a science/art and not something you can fart out in the computer. Because that is what bad design is: shit. I love looking at it and pointing it out.

On Aug.02.2003 at 11:03 AM
steve c’s comment is:

I must say I love 'the idea'. That moment when it's just you and a thought...even before it becomes real. Before it's even a pixel on a monitor. It's still vapor - still maleable, like spending lottery money in your head on the drive home from buying the ticket or how the date will go on the way to pick her/him up...it's pure joy. it's pure. it isn't tainted by the client or the budget or the CD. And it's still all yours. I still get butterflies when I *really* cook something up. I remember the exact moment I last felt that feeling, the exact project.

I stumbled upon design...I grew up having NO idea what it was. Long story short I misread a Junior College class catalog and ended up in a Graphic Communications class. Total accident. But man - you could of knocked me down with a feather about 25 minutes into that class. I was...awakened!! Ask anyone around me; to say I am simply in love with design is an understatement of stellar proportions. I am a sick sick man...

On Aug.02.2003 at 07:23 PM
gary’s comment is:

Pepperland finale from Yellow Submarine

Pepperlanders: Glove?

George: Glove?

Paul: Love?

Ringo: Love.

John breathes out the word “GLOVE.”

Paul: He’s a clever lad, isn’t he?

George catches it.

Ringo: Open your mouth, luv, it won’t hurt. Hey John, you haven’t half got a big mouth, haven’t you?

George: It’s easy, all you need is love.

He holds up the word “LOVE” which had lost the “G”

John breathes out the word “GLOVE”, and the “G” falls away like the ash on a cigarette. He leaps to the ground, somersaulting on the way. The glove flies toward them´┐Ż




The words fly out and entangle the glove. Particularly the Os.

On Aug.03.2003 at 12:30 AM
Mike Jones’s comment is:

Why does anyone do any art related work? Someone, I think it might have been a musician, said..."try to quit. If you can, you probably should." I think this applies to all the arts.What do you think? It seems to me that people participate in the arts more out of need than desire.

On Aug.03.2003 at 11:24 AM
eric’s comment is:

"in one middle eastern story a man falsely identified as a criminal was put in prison. his friend visited and left him a prayer rug. the prisoner went angrily back to his cell. he had hoped for a hacksaw or a knife and all he'd gotten was this rug. but since he had it, he figured he might as well use it. so he started bowing on the rug to pray. each day he became more familiar with the pattern woven into the rug, and he started to see an interesting image there. it was a diagram of the lock that allowed him to open the cell and escape." - from Jack Kornfield's 'After the Ecstasty, the Laundry'

i have tried with much difficulty to move away from object oriented fulfilment and find love in people and process. design is more altruistic than fine art. i suppose that i should qualify that. it's the goal of fine art to fulfill the creator whereas design must satisfy the audience.

there are images that i'm very saccharine about. particularly the glazer update to "i love new york" post 9 -11. however even that painful graphic doesn't provide me with the same love as trying to make something for somebody that they can't get elsewhere. trying to provide something better and if i'm lucky, doing it in my own voice.

in closing this open valentine to Speak Up, i leave you with the following quote and link. for me, love is in appreciating the invisible. look again, look harder and take nothing for granted.

"i would like to be the air that inhabits you for a moment only. i would like to be that unnoticed and that neccessary." - margaret atwood.

On Aug.03.2003 at 02:49 PM
Bradley’s comment is:

Why do I love design?

Because I like to make things that I enjoy looking at. I have no problems admitting that I'm in this for me and me alone.

That said, I'd rather be doing that than talking about the work, or talking about doing the work.

On Aug.03.2003 at 05:28 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Eric, that was really nice... thanks.

On Aug.04.2003 at 01:06 PM
Tan’s comment is:

Eric...sniff... you touched me man.

I really needed that today. I'm starting a brutal week, and need to be reminded a little why I chose this career in the first place.

Why do I love design? Why do I love mango sorbet, or the smell of a freshly shampoo'd head on my kids, or the endearing way my wife snores? Because it's a part of what makes life for me.

I'm a designer because I wouldn't choose to do anything else, any other way.

Well, except if I won the lottery, I'd just do it on the veranda on my beachhouse in Maui.

On Aug.04.2003 at 01:22 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Other, more tangible, reasons why I love graphic design:

Ed Fella



PMS 180 (Uncoated)

Adobe Illustrator 8.0

AIGA (really!)

Scott Makela


Portfolio Center


UPS rebranding


Matiz (a mexican thang)


David Carson (hate to love him)

And obviously: Speak Up

On Aug.04.2003 at 03:01 PM
debbie millman’s comment is:

Armin: such a good idea.

Tangible reasons I love graphic design:

Maira Kalman

Roz Chast

Barbara Kruger

Jenny Holzer

Emily Oberman

"art is work" and Milton's rabbit joke

every single thing about Graham Wood


mispelled signs

typos in general

anything with tape on it

the wallpaper at Bemmelman's

No. 2 pencils (using them and looking at them)

On Aug.04.2003 at 03:18 PM
Krystal Hosmer’s comment is:

it's pure. it isn't tainted by the client or the budget or the CD. And it's still all yours. I still get butterflies when I *really* cook something up. I remember the exact moment I last felt that feeling, the exact project.

This is me... (What are you doing in my head? Do you have a hall pass?) I just love savoring your "great" idea and sometimes it kills me when it dies in committee. I have them all the time, for people/groups I am not even working for. I finally got a journal and I will start writing them down. I just hate to let them moudler in my head, when they could be out there, doing someone some good.

I wandered into graphic design. I never spent a day in "design" school. or even college. When I worked at an all mac computer dealer about 7 years ago, I had the opportunity to reaquaint myself with a high school love affair with graphic design. I pored through the Adobe Classroom-in-a-book for Photoshop and Illustrator, sat myself in front of one of the souped-up display macs and just fiddled until I knew what I was doing. Then I talked a client into hiring me as a VERY junior level designer and had to learn Quark (again, out of a book) in two weeks, which might explain why I hate it to this day! Luckily, my family is all artists in various mediums and salespeople, so I have a good set of inherited talents that has help lift me from the "secretary-pretending-to-be-a-designer" set into an accomplished professional with a few of them shiny trophies to my credit. But it will always be about the idea, unless of course, there are a lot of zeros after the little 1 on the check!

On Aug.04.2003 at 03:37 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>No. 2 pencils (using them and looking at them)

That paints such a funny picture... the president of a large branding consultancy staring aimlessly at a No. 2 pencil while world renowned CEO's await. Awesome.

On Aug.04.2003 at 03:50 PM
debbie millman’s comment is:

Armin, you are such a bad ass. (But you know I love it)

I meant viewing them...as opposed to aimless staring. As in a lovely still-life of mustardy-yellow sticks with pretty little pink bonnets hapazardly standing in a silver cup.


On Aug.04.2003 at 04:00 PM
Armin’s comment is:

I rest my case.

On Aug.04.2003 at 04:34 PM
Amanda’s comment is:

why I love design:

#1 above all is thumbnails

sharp sharp hb pencils

Adobe Illustrator (9.0 - hee)

olive green

The Brucke Movement

Another Girl at Play


Shawn Barber

Katherine Dunn

Dana Woodward, my husband

Neon signage

Any signage, especially if its old

Vintage glasses

VW brand

apple of course

thick paper

and so much more.

On Aug.05.2003 at 10:31 AM
Tan’s comment is:

why i love design

1. the smell of a dylux / blueline

2. the way stat chemicals or bistine erases your fingerprints

3. a well designed business card

4. cool paper promotions

5. Potlatch and every rep I've ever worked with there

6. mundane financial typesetting after a hard week

7. group critiques or brainstorming

8. tiny, little books

9. unreasonably expensive, well-designed, mundane things like the Starck juicer, or the Hannibal tape dispenser

10. unreasonably cheap, well-designed, mundane things from IKEA

11. my 18", flexible, transparent, brutally precise Schaedler ruler

I've left out my heroes and the people I love in design -- it's been discussed in other threads already.

On Aug.05.2003 at 11:52 AM
Lea’s comment is:

I love design because I am a sensual being. Seeing, touching, smelling, hearing, tasting. It's what we live for. You don't need design in order to have senses; but with design, you become more aware of those senses.


On Aug.05.2003 at 05:20 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>I love design because I am a sensual being

That's cool, I had never thought of design in that way. I do think some things in design are "sexy" but sensual... that's nice. Elegant, unexpected, experiential, sensorial.

Really cool! Thanks Lea. Gotta go home now.

On Aug.05.2003 at 05:40 PM
Bradley’s comment is:

CORE, FUSE, Mark Ray, David Carson, and anyone else who does it just for themselves.

Fred Woodward, John Korpics, Peter Yates, Janet Froelich, Edward Leida & Dennis Freedman, and Alan Hurlburt.

Ted Fabella, Hank Richardson, and Martha Gill at Portfolio Center.

On Aug.05.2003 at 06:51 PM
Momon Corpuz’s comment is:

i love graphic design because of one thing.

i play god when doing my creations and i glorify God for the wonderful gift.

On Sep.26.2003 at 06:00 AM