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In Last Place?
Google these words: architecture, advertising, marketing, or art. Now search for “graphic design.” Click on the links and you’ll notice a quantity in Google’s header that ranges from the hundred millions to the millions. As of midnight Pacific Standard Time on 22 July 2004, the results looked like this.

Ranked #1 in the Wired 40, Google’s the place for information. And if graphic design ranks last in a Google search, what does our poor showing mean?

Graphic design has long been considered a “young” discipline, one that continues maturing. Design critics suggest that we look to architecture or film to develop theory. Designers promise more respect (and better pay) with certification. And what’s not to like about placing an emphasis on the many facets a designer can play for the executives, investors, and shareholders? The more work we can do, the better their return on investment, and the more work we’ll get. Oh, how design would perpetuate more and more work, more and more money.

The notion that design is young conjures images of some immature beast, trying to climb its way to the top. But what can we do as designers? Are we vocal enough? Is the media publicizing what we do, sharing our value with the world?

We need to increase our position from last to first, but I see population as an issue. Google isn’t the first place to evidence this. Just walk into a library. Add up the books in the design stacks. Combine them with those in the typography stacks. It’s a meager showing. In my high school library there were zero books on design, with the exception of some on printmaking and book binding techniques.

Right now, whether on the internet or in the libraries, not enough material communicates what we do, but we’re not in last place. Whether you’re searching through iTunes, navigating a gallery, reading film titles, examining a piece of junk mail, glancing at a billboard, digesting Walker Evan’s Signs, or wandering through a structure that houses books, you can’t avoid graphic design.

Maintained through our ADV @ UnderConsideration Program
PUBLISHED ON Jul.22.2004 BY Jason A. Tselentis
Jim Amos’s comment is:

It's some kind of paradox. Graphic design is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. I think a lot of it comes down to lack of respect for a discipline 'joe public' and even 'joe CEO' fail to comprehend.

On Jul.22.2004 at 01:48 AM
Ellen Lupton’s comment is:

The chart is beautiful. Shocking. Two thumbs up. But we are dreaming to think that "graphic design" would ever get more yields than "music" or "film." Would you want it to? Imagine living in such a world. Graphic designers should stop worrying about how underappreciated we are. Demonstrate through your own work and actions the essential social value derived from each act of typographic mercy.

I googled "industrial design" (which didn't even make your list) and got 1,230,000. Imagine life without cars, planes, trains, and bombs. (It's sounding kind of nice, actually.)

On Jul.22.2004 at 05:51 AM
Steve Mock’s comment is:

Try it with love, money, joy, sex and Jesus. I think it's the term "graphic design" that is weak.

We all know - more succinctly - design is at the center (220 million) of everything else. Make music, make art, make film.

I don't think next to last means much in this context. Cool piece though, Jason.

On Jul.22.2004 at 08:23 AM
Steve Portigal’s comment is:

The point you are making may be sound, but your communication tactics are incredibly naive. I could make almost any point I wanted by using the number of Google hits for various keywords. "Pr0nography" is more important than "cures for cancer." Of course not, but that's likely what you'd find in Google. Google is an artifact that represents one aspect of prevalence, importance, awareness, but it's not the only measure.

On Jul.22.2004 at 08:25 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

Really, we're kind of scraping the barrel in subjects to whine about, aren't we? ;o)

what does our poor showing mean?

It means the term 'graphic design' isn't as ubiquitous as 'music'. Hell, even graphic designers can't consistently use the full term correctly (everyone says they're a 'designer').

We need to increase our position from last to first

No we don't.

In my high school library there were zero books on design

I'll agree on this one. Better design (and the creative arts, in general) education would be good for most any student.

On Jul.22.2004 at 08:44 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

OK, do get all geeky, there's another reason that Gogole probably doesn't list graphic design high on the list...poorly built graphic design web sites.

Speak Up is great, but there's nothing on this page that really tells Google that this site is about Graphic Design.

The term 'graphic design' doesn't appear on this page until line 231. Nothing in the title. No headers. (Armin did use Meta tags, which is good, alas, Google pays little attention to those).

And the more a design firm considers themselves graphic designers, the more likely (IMHO, of course) That they've built an all-flash Google-unfriendly web site.

So, if your goal is to move 'graphic design' up the list of hits on google, then that can be done via better HTML. ;o)

On Jul.22.2004 at 08:50 AM
Dan’s comment is:

Darrel, sometimes you're the man. This is one of those times. Also, let's try googling design.

On Jul.22.2004 at 09:10 AM
debbie millman’s comment is:

I googled "graphic+design" and got 5,740,000 results. I did the same with "branding" and got 2,900,000. Then I did "brand+design" and got 46,000. I thought that might make some people happy.

On Jul.22.2004 at 09:17 AM
Gabe’s comment is:

The thing is all those other terms, partularly the top three are often used when the writer is not talking about the discipline itself, wheras 'graphic design' is almost impossible to use in such contexts. The right term to compare would be 'design' which beats everything on the list except music.

Frankly, I don't see what all the doom and gloom is about. Sure, improving recognition of what we do should always be a goal, but designers are far from the bottom of the heap. We shouldn't be so quick to criticize business for being ignorant, because after all, they make what we do possible. As much value as it has for business, graphic design is a luxury in the grand scheme of things. How about some respect for the people who make civilization possible? The farmers, truckers, garbage men, plumbers, electricians, and carpenters that keep the place running? It takes a lot of those people to support one graphic design position, so I consider myself one of the privileged few that gets to be creative day in and day out.

That said, of course we should strive for greater awareness. The key to that is through individual contact though. No one ever changed anyone's mind by spouting a bunch of one-sided rhetoric or shoving a book at them. If you want them to understand you, you first need to understand them. If what you do is important, frame it according to their frame of reference. Don't forget why they're paying you! It's not about your creative vision, it's about business goals. If your vision is so uncompromising then you should be an artist plain and simple. Just my 3 cents.

On Jul.22.2004 at 09:36 AM
sheepstealer’s comment is:

Google is a tool for mass public use. Design is a product for a crowd that is significantly smaller than the general population. Design studios rarely build businesses on walk-in, phonebook, or internet-searching customers. Every successful design business I've seen has built its business on reputation and referral.

Those searching for graphic design probably already know what they're looking for. First they'll talk to their peers — “Who designed your Annual Report?” — or they will look in design annuals. By the time they get to google, they’re searching more specifically for Pentagram, Cahan or Landor or Billy's One-Man-Design-it-All shop. With that knowledge and experience there's not a need to search for general “Graphic Design.”

So here's the paradox. To search for Graphic Design you have to already know about Graphic Design.

As a designer (yes, I’m very deliberate in neglecting the word “graphic”) it doesn't worry me that my profession is not a Google frontrunner. But that's the business side of me talking.

As a part-time design instructor I have nearly the opposite opinion. I too had to labor arduously to understand the context of my craft in history. Could my high school have had at least one moment dedicated to art history? Or to the fact that Guttenberg's contribution to design was also instrumental in bringing literacy to the world? Or the value of design influencing the world through propaganda posters during WWII? I could go on ...

So what can we take from all of this. My thought is that the task of sharing design information shouldn’t be left to Google. In the Utopia that lives in my head, no young designer will ever have to Google for information on “Graphic Design.” As the leaders of design we can teach the newbies to Google for Rand, Bass, Glaser, or Bodoni, Garamond, Goudy ...

I'd like to make sure that anyone searching for design already knows something about design.

After that, me and D. Quixote have got some windmills to take care of.

On Jul.22.2004 at 09:37 AM
DesignMaven’s comment is:


On another Speak Up thread. I gave the Hiarchy of Design.

We all know Design is the most essential commodity

us earthlings posses.

I constantly tell my potential clients who try to denigrate Design to a Non Essential Service.

'Everything in our lives is Designed.' Yet, we take Design for granted.

'When you get up in the morning to brush your teeth. Your tooth brush is Designed. Drink a glass of water, coffee or tea, eat food. Those utensils are Designed'.

'Take a dump, Design. The very nature of receiving Communication via newspapers, magazines, internet, etc., Design.'

'The comfortability of our homes and bed. Directly responsible to a Designer'.

'We wouldn't be able to navigate the highways

nor travel if not for Design.'

Visual Communication and Design will always be under appreciated and taken for granted.

Yet, our daily lives are dependant upon Design and Visual Communication.

Us Humanoids couldn't and wouldn't exist without Design.

Regardless of the Discipline.

None essential service, yeah right !!!!!! (laughs)

If not for Hieroglyphics, the earliest form of record of Visual Communication. Us Humanoids would not exist. We communicated symbolically first via pictures. When there was not a commonly shared language.

On Jul.22.2004 at 09:37 AM
Omar’s comment is:

This is ridiculous...

The search results have less to do with the awareness or online presence of Graphic Design and more to do with the prevalence of those other words in the English language. Google is not nearly as intelligent a search engine as you're giving it credit for.

There is way too much time being spent contemplating how unappreciated graphic design is. Ugh.

All these topics are turning Speak Up into an awfully dull forum.

On Jul.22.2004 at 09:39 AM
Chris Rugen’s comment is:

Perhaps more relevant than how many hits there are is what the top 10 hits are:

1. About's Graphic Design section (under Arts & Entertainment)

2. Design & Publishing

3. HOW magazine

4. All Graphic Design: Graphic Design Resources


6. Mundi Design Studios' presentation of the 'Principle of Graphic Design

7. 24/seven: fashion recruitment - graphic design jobs

8. Sensebox: A Graphic Design Schools Guide

9. A Google-driven search portal for a site providing "Graphic Design Links of interest to Graphic Artists, Designer's"

10. Graphic Design from the 1920s and 1930s in Travel Ephemera (with some color choices to make your eyes bleed)

Now, how does this make us look to the untrained/ non-designer? Some of the best and most interesting design focal points on the web aren't on this first page. The theme here seems to be: professional resources, design education, finding and needing jobs, and a dab of esoteric knowledge. Sounds like graphic design to me.


On Jul.22.2004 at 09:55 AM
9-? Desk Guy’s comment is:

It seems like everyday I visit speakup there is a new post on how graphic design(ers) are un-appreciated, and un-noticed. It's getting pretty boring and monotonous.

We'll never reach a social status as say a doctor, lawyer, or hell, even a garbage man. We need to just face the fact that a very large majority of the population doesn't know exactly what we do, and hence doesn't appreciate it.

Get used to it, and get over it. Harping about it isn't going to change it.

I look forward to visiting speakup again where there is a topic worthy or reading and contributing to.

On Jul.22.2004 at 10:23 AM
Tan’s comment is:

>Really, we're kind of scraping the barrel in subjects to whine about, aren't we?

hahaha...sorry, Jason, but Darrel's smartass comment is really funny. We're navel gazing extremely close here.

Ok, so forget Google.

What I get pissed at more is the prevalent omission of "graphic design" as a professional category in software registration forms, online surveys, and other asinine products and services that cater specifically to large numbers of graphic designers.

I remember feeling insulted when registering for Quark, and there were checkboxes for Marketing, Advertising, Editorial, Direct-Mail, Government, and a half-dozen other stupid categories — but no "Graphic Design." There've been a few stock photo websites that have lumped it all into one large professional category, like "Advertising/Art". I'll see if I can track down some more specific instances.

I remember that only about seven or eight years ago, Ric Grefe was working hard at getting the IRS to officially categorize and catalog "Graphic Design" as a profession. Before that, whenever you filed your taxes and filled in graphic design under "profession" — the government would just lump it all under commercial arts. I think at the time, industrial design and interior design had long been recognized.

Why should it matter? Because until there was an official IRS category, there was no method of ascertaining just how many graphic designers were practicing in the US. It's also a challenge to credibility when the government doesn't recognize your industry as legitimate.

Course, this is all from memory.

On Jul.22.2004 at 10:35 AM
Valon’s comment is:

It's not that bad that the general public doesn't know what we do. At some point in life we chose to be graphic designers so in a sense to be different and to prove to ourselves why we are missunderstood (I might be solely speaking about myself). However, finishing last in Google does not concern me at all. That chart about google was made possible through a graphic designer that designed it. So yea DesignMaven I absolutely agree with all you have to say.... Cheers!

On Jul.22.2004 at 10:35 AM
Don’s comment is:

If we took all this valuable time and focused it on creating meaningful work, we could possibly have a greater impact. If we directed voices of concern at Quark, and the like, they might actually listen...

AIGA has gotten Webster's to recognize the term Graphic Design and define it:

: the art or profession of using design elements (as typography and images) to convey information or create an effect; also : a product of this art

I believe further subtext does include the Process of Designing acknowledging there is a process and strategy. As in "Designing a plan".

In Kowleefoneeya, AIGA and other groups lobbied together to change the definition of Graphic Design at a state level and revise excessive taxation of our services. Tan's right, the IRS monster is instrumental in publicly defining this as a proper career category. If the government says it is so, it must be, right?

I registered yesterday at the San Diego Comic Con, always amazed at the passion of the many Klingons, droids, vampires et al at the largest event of this kind in the US. Yesterday I also received a Moveon.org email to sign a political petition with over 250,000 signatures and I wondered among it all, what activity might motivate an entire design community to act with one voice, objective, or idea. There rest of the world has a lot on its mind, now more than ever. Great design blends in, possibly more than it stands out. We are probably not in the top 100 on most people's lists of new things to learn more about.

With Trading Spaces, the Fab Five, Fast Company, etc., more people are learning in mainstream ways that design makes a difference. We will likely always be misunderstood. So, how do we continue to fan the flames?

On Jul.22.2004 at 11:13 AM
CCHS’s comment is:

On Jul.22.2004 at 11:23 AM
Rob ’s comment is:

I think that the point, there need to be more information out there on design, is valid but the visual doesn't really translate with much real meaning. As someone noted, a search for just design itself comes up with 226 million sites, which would put it smack in the middle of film and music. And really, design touches every site on the web in one way or the other.

It's really not about being last either. It's about gaining more interest about design in general and creating a market for literature that is currently aimed at the 400,000 or so people in the US who think of themselves as designers. As we have seen in recent months, from publications like Time, Fast Company, Business Week and others, design in general is becoming a more popular item for publication. We need to find a way to take this momentum and use it to continually expose to the public the power of design and in turn, build their fascination. It's really about PR, marketing strategy and building greater awareness. And since design is all around us, why does it seem so difficult to accomplish?

On Jul.22.2004 at 11:46 AM
Su’s comment is:

To illustrate Darrel's line of reasoning a bit more concretely: "Graphic Design" @ Under Consideration.

I'm not going to post my standard rant about the fundamental misconceptions people have about what Google results mean again. Omar's comment comes close enough, though I disagree about Google not being intelligent. It just doesn't do what you seem to think it does.

On Jul.22.2004 at 11:48 AM
Tan’s comment is:

Ok, beating a dead horse here (what a terrible expression).

This is direct from a Print magazine subscription BRC I have in front of me:

My business is best described as (choose one):

__ Advertising agency

__ TV/film

__ Government

__ Publisher

__ Museum/library

__ Allied to field

__ Company

__ Photographer

__ College/education

__ Design studio

__ Printer/engraver

__ Other (specify) ___

I kid you not. Print magazine, a magazine specifically geared to a predominant graphic design audience, doesn't list the profession as a separate category in its own fucking subscription card. And to add to the insult, "Design studio" is listed next to last in terms of importance (it's not alphabetical). Government is third — apparently, there are more civil servants reading the new Sex issue than graphic designers.

It's infuriating sometimes.

On Jul.22.2004 at 11:57 AM
Jason’s comment is:

So graphic design ranks last in a Google search? We don't really need to climb to the top because as DesginMaven echoed, design is everywhere. It is essential.

It's interesting to see how many of you label this post as a cry for help, "Oh. Look at me. I'm poor little design. LOOK at me!!! Give me attention. LOVE ME!!!" Forget that for a moment, and hear Ellen's words,

Graphic designers should stop worrying about how underappreciated we are. Demonstrate through your own work and actions the essential social value derived from each act of typographic mercy.
No matter what Google enumerates, no matter where the AIGA falls in its results, and no matter how often those words are used, I'm amazed at how design can be everywhere and nowhere (Jim Amos) at the same time. Blaming the IRS and Print magazine seem like good places to start. On Jul.22.2004 at 12:00 PM
Jerry’s comment is:

I don’t think it helps either that as a profession we get all picky about what we call ourselves. I’ve seen:

� Graphic Design(er)

� Visual Communication (Communicator)

� Branding Strategist

� Cultural Branding

� Communication Strategist

� Strategic Communication

� Graphic Engineer (What the?!)

…just to name a few. You can mix and match any of the terms above as you like and you still basically get the same person over and again. Come on people, we’re acting like a bunch of chefs who basically serve up glorified hamburgers, but we just can’t call them burgers because — we’re chefs godamnit!

On Jul.22.2004 at 12:05 PM
Don’s comment is:

And since design is all around us, why does it seem so difficult to accomplish?

Because we are not writers (by trade), marketers or PR experts - different set of gene's, and we don't seem to be employing their services in a broad sense to build greater awareness, understanding, or to tell our story with greater frequency and visibility. Perhaps being self-tortured and misunderstood feeds creative impulses on some subconcious level, but it doesn't feed my family.

Ok, beating a dead horse here (what a terrible expression).

Yes, but what a powerful message the right words create.

On Jul.22.2004 at 12:12 PM
Don’s comment is:

Ahem, er, uh, what a powerful visual the right words create.

I hate that if you post too quickly, you can't go back and edit. Did I mention not being a writer?

On Jul.22.2004 at 12:40 PM
Jason’s comment is:

I cleaned out my shelves this morning for a garage sale and came across old ID magazines. Glancing through their June 2000 Interactive Design Annual, guess what? I saw Google.

They received a Silver honor for interface design and looked nearly the same as today. Google demonstrates how design can be used efficiently and wisely to deliver information visually and quantifiably. I see words in varying weights, colors, and sizes. Beautiful. No popup advertisements. No banner ads. Just typography. Even the ads are just typography. I love it. And so do millions of other people because it works. In most cases, these other people don't design from nine to five, but they do digest information daily.

Those with knowledge, taste, and consideration will control how we inform, and how well it can be done. If Google recognizes this, that's something wonderful. That's the value of design. More people are starting to turn their attention towards similar concerns these days. But really, they've been doing so for a very long time. Henry Dreyfuss wrote this in the Harvard Business Review in 1950. If we hold true to his great words, the capacity of design you work in doesn't matter:

...if people are made safer, more comfortable, more eager to purchase, more efficient—or just plain happier—by contact with the product, then the designer has succeeded. Henry Dreyfuss

Seeing graphic design at the bottom of my information graphic shows one thing, and one thing only: Google identifies that word in fewer places than the others. It's an issue of quantity. Does it make you feel guilty? Are you under appreciated? Don't be. If you live up to the words of Dreyfuss, there's nothing to worry about. Just do quality work.

Now what about quality words? Don't deny your egalitarian nature when it comes to speaking or writing about design, that's being lazy and chicken. Instead, say something. Say more. Increase design's presence. Boost graphic design's Google results, but provide breadth and depth for us all to read about.

Can we speak up critically? Think about that word and forget your ego. Screw the totem pole that any information graphic creates. Don't concern yourself with numbers for the sake of numbers. Statistics are nothing without your merit and hard work. Forget about seeing your name in a comment, post, or printed page. Dismiss how design resides everywhere and nowhere. Just say something, and say it critically. Unless more of that happens, we'll be sitting in last place for a while. I know few people who enjoy losing.

On Jul.22.2004 at 02:10 PM
jason the lowercase’s comment is:

graphic design is right where it should be on that list. the whole premise of this article, as far as i can tell, is absurd.

us against music?! us against film?! architecture?!

perspective please.

On Jul.22.2004 at 03:44 PM
Jason’s comment is:

Absurd, says my alter ego. I ask him to shed perspective on his assessment because there is nothing absurd about comparing where design resides in the scheme of so many other creative disciplines.

On Jul.22.2004 at 04:02 PM
Tan’s comment is:

Sorry for this unrelated query.

Hey jason l.c. — just out of curiosity, what school do you study design at? I'm curious after our conversation on the other thread. I attended the University of Houston, and Jason U.C. attended the University of Washington. Both programs have similar, aggressive 'cut' systems for junior/senior students — which is very rare among other US schools. So I'm always interested to know of other programs with the same approaches.

On Jul.22.2004 at 04:10 PM
Jason’s comment is:

Tan, how dare you break from the thread. I ought to delete that business of yours. (Yes, jason. I too am curious, if for no other reason than your tone of voice. Tell us where you hail from. And if you're in the market for an MFA, the same competition holds true for graduate students in UW's design program.)

On Jul.22.2004 at 04:18 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:


Heartfelt appreciation for quoting Henry Dreyfus.



You're absolutely correct. I've noticed the categorizations. Everything is either advertising or marketing. Makes me want to holler !!!!!!

I always check other. Where it indicate explain.

In long hand I write or type Corporate Identity Designer/Consultant.

There's never enough room to write the complete job title category.

On Jul.22.2004 at 09:31 PM
Su’s comment is:

I'm going to have to side with the "This is absurd" camp. Seriously, Jason. There are so many holes in this, it's not worth defending.

Besides everything that's already been brought up, you should also look at the comparative specificity of terms in your graphic. Or rather:

music : 268 million results

design : 224 million results (not in your graph)

film : 224 million results

pop music : 9.7 million results

graphic design : 8.6 million results (in your graph)

information design : 16 million results

art film : 13.9 million results

"pop music" : 2.85 million results

"graphic design" : 5.4 million results

"information design" : 384,000 results

"art film" : 472,000 results

Not looking so dire anymore, huh? A multi-word search looks for X AND Y. It's almost inherent that you'll get significantly fewer matches. Let's look at what happens if we search for graphic OR design: 19.5 million matches!

This is only tangentially a "real" issue. It's a combination of automated technology with limited language capability, and the fact that someone who is talking about DESIGN as a concept is just as likely to say: layout, spread, illustration, brochure, etc. without ever using the word design.

Pushing that particular term up in the rankings will have little effect other than possibly making people wonder why the hell you're saying "design" so much.

Google identifies that word in fewer places than the others. It's an issue of quantity.

Yes, but the occurence of a particular term is not necessarily a valid measure of how much people are talking about the thing that term represents. There are plenty of people talking about (graphic) design. What they choose to call it is unimportant. Words are pictures of things, not the things themselves.

And English is only one way to draw, for that matter.

On Jul.22.2004 at 10:02 PM
Mutok’s comment is:

Even though it's been said and said again, I'm going to call the conclusions drawn from these Google search results presumptuous and absurd — they represent an unjustifiable level of statistical manipulation. I would recommend checking out the Nigritude Ultramarine contest for more information on how this kind of extrapolation of search engine results can be very misleading. Maybe this pretty little graphic should open up another vein for discussion on graphic design as a tool of propagandists even on the most basic level: the corporate doodle-your-way-through-the-meeting chart.

On Jul.22.2004 at 11:33 PM
Jason’s comment is:

Numbers for the sake of numbers mean little. A ranking in Google can only get you so far. Producing more written material on graphic design will do what?

All valid criticisms above. Google does give us these quantities, but we all know graphic design is much more prevalent in our society than the numbers a search yields. As for semantics, I'm not about to delve into the nature of words we use to describe our tasks because I began this thread to point out one thing, and one thing only, that graphic design can't be quantified. Even a tool like Google can't express an accurate number or expression of how often and how frequently we encounter graphic design. It just can't. It is absurd because as we know, graphic design is eveywhere.

But, something turned the corner for me when I read a comment above. Of all the material out there Google pulls up, how much of it is worth reading? How much of it is valuable? Seeing Chris Rugen’s enumeration is quite telling. What is About's Graphic Design site, and will it really help me become a Better Graphic Designer like the caption promises? Anyone heard of Mundi Design Studios?

We have information pushed towards us by the likes of Google, but is any of it worthwhile? When you're online reading about graphic design, where's the substance out there? How can we determine quality with so much to sift through? Quantity and quality aren't mutually exclusive, are they?

On Jul.23.2004 at 10:50 AM
jason the lowercase’s comment is:

if the premise of the article was only 'that graphic design can't be quantified' then i will gladly retract my 'absurd' comment. however, i don't know if that statement really sums up what i read.

sorry if my tone sounded hostile. from your article, i got the impression that you wanted graphic design to fly above the other disciplines on your chart. as if in competition. all these disciplines are very complimentary to each other and it would be counterproductive to pit them against one another.

tan, i went to iowa state. i think they probably still use the same cut system which i personally like.

On Jul.23.2004 at 01:50 PM
Jason’s comment is:

No problem, jason. I could have flushed things out more clearly to highlight the issues. The fact that Google places us last in a quantifiable search has little to do with where design really exists or how we compare to the other disciplines. And the quality/quantity issue has yet to be really addressed here. However, your comment wasn't hostile, it was challenging, and I like that.

I too am from the midwest. I did my undergrad at theUniversity of Nebraska in Lincoln. I just completed my MFA here in Seattle at the UW. I went from being a Husker to a Husky. I've heard good things about Iowa State. I wish you well in Cyclone land.

On Jul.23.2004 at 02:55 PM
jason the lowercase’s comment is:

actually, Jason, i left iowa long ago for nyc. but thanks for your well wishes. and of course back at you.

sorry, back to the topic... next.

On Jul.23.2004 at 03:15 PM
Tan’s comment is:

Ok, break it up guys. This is getting a little weird.

On Jul.23.2004 at 03:16 PM
Jerry’s comment is:

OK, Tan’s going for the 30,000th post.

On Jul.25.2004 at 03:45 PM
Rick Landers’s comment is:

I know how much many of you dislike AIGA and see it as an "elitist organization." But this is where you and I should redirect some of our energy. We should push our local chapters and the national chapter to really strive to make our industry and our services recognized by the public. Many of the graphic design organizations such as AIGA spend too much time trying to communicate to other designers about design in a very overly sophisticated and complex manner. But don't we do the same thing here on Speak Up? We do a lot of talking and complaining about our industry not being recognized or understood by the public on a website that only other designers (and not someone who is interested in learning more about design) look at. While this is an excellent website, it too is a site by designers, for designers.

Many of the AIGA chapters have design exhibitions, but the only people made aware of them are those who are members, most of whom are designers. Why don't they take the same tactic that museums take with their exhibitions - such as bus shelter advertising or ads that are actually on the buses themselves?

I do not understand why as problem solvers, we have not made a better effort of communicating to the public what we do, and how the services that we provide can help not only businesses but also our society. This information exists on the AIGA national site, but it's buried, and is probably not as prominent as it could be, it comes off as design for designers. Rather than talk about and complain about it - let's actually do something about this issue. AIGA is an excellent opportunity, it's potential just hasn't been fully realized.

Over the past couple of years AIGA has done a great job of upgrading and evolutionizing their website and they have released some great materials such as "Why Work with a Graphic Designer?" (http://aiga.org/content.cfm/clientsguide) The "Why?" book (http://philadelphia.aiga.org/) and most recently "What every business needs" book. But like their website it is directed to designers and they leave it up their members to spread the word. Anyone can critique and give their opinion, that's the easy part. But not everyone can step up and make things happen. Just think about all of time that we spend writing to one another on blogs like this about how as an industry we are not recognized. Maybe we should spend more time working with AIGA, Art Directors and Type Directors club in helping them spread the word to the rest of the world about the importance of design.

On Jul.28.2004 at 02:31 PM
Jason’s comment is:

Rick, I really appreciate your reply above. You address a lot of issues that do matter. I feel that the best place to start is locally. Try these things in your local chapter. Hopefully they get noticed, and then you can manage them to the top of the food chain. Design isn't really in last place, by any means. But maybe designers don't advocate enough of what it is they do; or perhaps the public just isn't interested in seeing what's behind the curtain of the great Oz.

On Jul.28.2004 at 04:54 PM
Armin’s comment is:

> But don't we do the same thing here on Speak Up? We do a lot of talking and complaining about our industry not being recognized or understood by the public on a website that only other designers (and not someone who is interested in learning more about design) look at. While this is an excellent website, it too is a site by designers, for designers.

Rick, the main difference is that Speak Up's purpose — for now — is exactly that. A blog/forum/community by designers for designers. (See our About Us page for reference). Whereas the AIGA's mission is to "set the national agenda for the role of design in its economic, social, political and cultural contexts."

On Jul.28.2004 at 07:19 PM
Armin’s comment is:

There is at least one place where design comes up first.

When you register a product on Apple's web site they ask you to specify what "you do"; the first option in the drop down menu is Design/Print.


On Aug.07.2004 at 03:43 PM
Jason T’s comment is:

Apple caters to design, and most of our industry use their hardware/software/middleware first and foremost. Designers love Apple because Apple loves design.

Why are you investigating their forms? Did you buy a new machine, upgrade iTunes, or purchase QuickTime Pro?

On Aug.08.2004 at 04:11 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Registering a new iPod for my birthday!

On Aug.08.2004 at 04:19 PM
Brady’s comment is:


Check this out...

Google War automatically checks terms against each other and keeps track of recent and popular wars.

Try it!

1. Graphic Design v. Architecture

2. Advertising v. Public Relations

3. Logo v. Trademark

4. Speak Up v. Design Observer

5. Vanilla v. Chocolate

6. Boxers v. Briefs

7. Hatfields v. McCoys

8. Felix Sockwell v. Design Maven

Have fun!

On Sep.16.2004 at 09:31 AM
Armin’s comment is:

> 4. Speak Up v. Design Observer

SU: 1,560,000

DO: 15,800

Boo-yah! In your face.

I mean… it's not about the competition, it is all about furthering the discourse of our benevolent profession.

On Sep.16.2004 at 10:08 AM
Gunnar Swanson’s comment is:


Humbling, indeed. I discovered that "Gunnar Swanson" lost soundly in the contest with "free porn."

On Sep.16.2004 at 10:33 AM
szkat’s comment is:

Brady - a Googlewar on

8. Felix Sockwell v. Design Maven

is the funniest thing i've ever seen on speak up

On Sep.16.2004 at 12:25 PM