FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK: In the past I have tried to avoid touchy subjects like politics and religion on Speak Up. Not because they are not worth discussing but it is common for these topics to veer unto dangerous offending ground. Democrats vs. Republicans. Pro or against abortion. Homosexuality. Religion. It starts to get personal. Talking about one’s own or questioning others’ values and beliefs is a recipe for some sort of moral implosion. This June was, to say the least, interesting. In spite of hot topics like patric king’s remembering ronald reagan, Mark Kingsley’s Hell, Maybe! Tan Le’s Believing the Good in Brands and Debbie Millman’s Please be Careful the conversations were kept at a respectable level of decency, maturity and relevance. So instead of avoiding it, in June, we embrace it. Grab yourself a proverbial soap box, get on it and, being that it is already July, go sell political somewhere else, we are all stock up here. Just kidding, mi soapbox es su soapbox.

Armin Vit

Author › M. Kingsley Date › JUN.11.2004

I hereby declare that for as long as the New York chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts holds a Hell No/Yes event Speak Up will report on it and then let the conversation heatedly deviate into any topic other than graphic design. Mark’s review, rather than revere on the evening’s lineup, provided a fresh and critical take on the event. Regardless, it was hijacked by generalized talk of designers not supporting the war but supporting abortion and voting for Kerry. A generalization more bothersome than the black turtleneck dress code. Amidst personal opinions on abortion, some interesting and relevant connections between graphic design and politics arose, however you must be willing to wade through many comments that might send you into fits of rage. Or as Rob Bennett put it: “I come here to read and learn about design not to get pissed reading people’s misguided political views.”

Author › Tan Le Date › JUNE.18.2004

A more appropriate title for this thread would have been Come Disagree with Tan, it’s Fun. What do Apple, Target and Ben & Jerry’s have in common? They are the few brands that designers tend to believe in their good. What do the rest of the world’s giant conglomerates have in common? They are easy to pick on. What do people on Speak Up have in common? They like to yak about good, bad and, mostly, evil brands. A few other subjects that were briefly touched on: Marxism, Communism, Midnight Oil, Subarus, Benito Mussolini, Ephesians 6:12, Phil Knight going to India and slapping babies and Hicksville, USA. You decide if you want to read this one.

Recommended Reading and Perusing
Generica / One Market Under God: Extreme Capitalism, Market Populism, and the End of Economic Democracy by Thomas Frank / No Logo by Naomi Klein / Subscription to Adbusters / From The Economist: Who’s wearing the trousers?

Author › Debbie Millman Date › JUN.25.2004

As if Mark and Tan’s topics weren’t poignant enough, Debbie Millman boldly, and quickly, asks “Have you ever taken a pill to enhance your sexual performance?” We should have just made June the Tell-us-all-your-dirty-little-secrets-and-personal-convictions month. Please be Careful is a carefully crafted essay that marries and bridges brands, culture, society, consumerism, morals and values. The discussion that ensued broke apart brands, culture, society, consumerism, morals and values. After the mention of Milton Glaser’s 12 Steps on the Graphic Designer’s Road to Hell the discussion also tackled the morally-charged question of “If the price is right, what would you do?” Designing of/for thongs, malt liquor and cigarettes was questioned. What else could you ask for?