Taking a Break
Fall semester 2015, my first semester in GDMFA, has finished, and all I can think of is how much I want to get home so I can sleep forever. I can’t believe how much I have grown as a designer and thinker in a year and a half. I feel very fortunate, but also that I still have so much left I want to do.
Before classes ended, I took another stab at writing what's called a “designer’s statement.” It’s still unresolved, but I’m sharing it here to remind me to keep working on it. It is a work in progress much like my life.
In writing and in design I am constantly searching for ways to make new connections– connections between material, ideas, or people, all aiming to influence behavior. They are powerful disciplines, and if used inappropriately, they can be exploitative.
Since graphic design and advertising became inexplicably linked, design primarily is seen as a commercial art form— with commercial being the stronger descriptor. Writing can be used commercially as well, but we can agree a McDonald’s ad uses much different language than Mary Rueful’s Milk, Rack and Honey. Today design works in the same way. It can be used commercially, but can still be deeply personal in a way that doesn’t mindlessly seek a paycheck.
I write to empathize. Primarily I write poetry because of my undergraduate professor, Andrew Fairchild. He taught me poetry went through a revolution in the mid 1900s. Freeform, non-rhyming poetry is popular now, and you can use as many or as few words as you’d like to connect Donatello’s David to a metal shop in rural Kansas, the way time passes, and transience.
I design because I know the way information is laid out is just as important as what it says. When designing for others you need to know how they approach information, and what form your information should take. Is it a poster, a book, an infographic? To help others make connections you need to know the information you are formatting, and you need to know the people. That’s what intelligent design does, and I suppose that’s another form of empathy.
I want to make connections, and I design because I want others to make those connections too. It works together, like this, connected to each other as they connect.