PSFK Reads: Popular Lies About Graphic Design

Craig Ward attempts to debunk the various misconceptions, half truths and, in some cases, outright lies which permeate the industry of design.

The first of a series of extracts from Craig Ward’s new book, ‘Popular Lies About Graphic Design.’ An attempt to debunk the various misconceptions, half truths and, in some cases, outright lies which permeate the industry of design, Craig Ward pulls from his ten years of experience to tackle subjects such as design fetishists, Helvetica’s neutrality, the validity of design education, the supposed death of print, client relationships and pitch planning.

About this book.

This is not a book full of facts. Nor is it a book full of advice. It’s a book full of opinions, and confusion between those three is how a lot of these problems begin.

Design is an undeniably broad and — crucially — non-denominational church; attracting all flavours of creative minds. There are the purists, the minimalists (and by contrast the maximalists), the avant-garde, the punks and the fetishists (more on those later); all of whom congregate in offices and studios the world over to create the great visual melting pot that is the Graphic Design landscape. Together, we create everything from corporate annual reviews to skateboard decks. By its very nature, design caters to all manner of tastes, and this breadth of style and content ensures that, for the most part, it remains entirely subjective. It inspires everything from lively, informed debate to hate-filled, emotionally charged blog posts accompanied by reams of comments defaming this logo or that typeface.

One designer’s grid is another’s skulls and spraypaint and, ultimately, you’re going to find your own way through it. There are, however, a few pearls of wisdom that one hears from time to time that somehow gain groundswell. Until graphic designers from every walk of life repeat them without even thinking about what they’re saying. is is design as a religion: blind adherence to a mind set or school of thought without ever questioning it. It’s something to belong to, which can be appealing, particularly as so many design practitioners are self employed or studios of one. Unfortunately, a lot like religion, many of these mantras and maxims tend to be misconceptions, half truths and, in some cases, outright lies. The aim of this book is simply an attempt to debunk these topics, clarify where appropriate and to give an opposing point of view. Not simply to be contrary (as fun as that can be), but more to consider the other side of the coin. is is more like design as science— examining other possibilities when it may be easier to side with something tried and tested. I hope you find it to be a worthwhile read.

C

Purchase ‘Popular Lies About Graphic Design’ on Actar.

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