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About Time

Graphic design’s existing institutions, including glossy magazines, hipper-than-thou design mavens and professional organizations, will not lead the way to the necessary and inevitable future; they are in fact holding us back from seeing and achieving it. Petty worship of famous designers and the self-serving pursuit of design for design’s sake has helped these institutions fail to meet their stated goal of creating a business and cultural climate that values graphic design.

Many institutions have struggled to deal with a new age of communications that are less centralized and more diverse. The irony of our inability to adapt is obvious to all but ourselves. Indeed, we may have to let graphic design as we know it die in order to save it, to help it be revived in a new, more relevant form. Which begs a few questions: If there were no institutions, what kind would we create? What would they do? How? If we were creating our discipline today, what would we call it? What kind of value do we create? How? What is our purpose?

My guess is that what will emerge after all is said and done will be something unrecognizable from our current perspective. Isn’t it about time?

Posted to SpeakUp on November 23, 2003

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