Two new publications out now.
First, a new feature for the latest issue of Idea Magazine (issue #340) called Forms of Practice, interviewing young designers, is on newsstands now.
Toward a new form of practice
A number of young designers in Europe and America are attempting to develop their own paths in exploring graphic design through innovative small-scale practices. Many of the designers featured here were born in the 1970s and 1980s, coming of age in commercial practice in the digital environment. The majority of those featured operate within the sphere of graphic design production from the approach of a more personal practice, inflecting their work with nuanced, idiosyncratic conceptual and formal approaches.
While widely varied due to cultural context and social/environmental differences, all have a kinship in unique approaches to developing formal options for clients. The use of the word “option” as applied here is perhaps the most relevant key point for the latest wave of graphic design from abroad- perhaps the “solution” as an end result of graphic design as a process is a dead methodology. What are instead offered are graphic “options” in lieu of “solutions”- inquiries answered with inquiries, questions answered with questions. The work featured offers playful, tentative answers instead of cold, hard end results.
This issue of Idea comes with a bonus satellite publication containing interviews with all of the designers and design studios featured in English and Japanese.
Copious photos are now in the Writing section of this site.
Second, the foreword for a new book from Sandu Media called Mini Graphics, an exploration of small-scale graphic design projects.
Scale is a funny thing. Graphic design practitioners consider it daily on a relative scale- the size of a logo in relation to a business card, book title in relation to the size of a title page, or glossy button in relation to the size of the desired user’s browser. Beyond the design project itself, scale in terms of critically assessing professional practice is also valuable, especially in contemporary times- a juncture where there is such a variety of models as to what professional practice can be.
More and more, the boundaries of graphic design as a profession are widening. The potential of design as a small-scale, craft-centric practice that exploits the potential of on-demand production both in production and deployment has been more fully realized in the contemporary context. The main tool of contemporary graphic design- the personal computer- has become an increasingly affordable object to attain as of late and ease-of-use of this tool has developed more fully as computers themselves have become more sophisticated and powerful.
This tide shift in the technology and tools of graphic design and reprographics over the past decade is hugely important. Graphic design is an evolutionary process, and while it seems to move slowly to practitioners, it moves infinitely faster than other communication practices. These changes are both immediate and gradual, and they affect many aspects of graphic design- from process to product. Most immediately noticeable is how technology affects the final product. As evinced by the work in this book, graphics are no longer simplistic, unified brand signifiers rendered by previous generations. Designers today use broader palettes of color, form, space, and sheer methodology to achieve their results.
I have a number of projects featured in the book, including the identity design for my own design studio and identity projects for a handful of clients and collaborators.
You can see a number of photos of the book in the Writing section of this site, as well.