GRAPHIC DESIGN ILLUSTRATED
WELCOME INDEED... Hello Hello, and welcome. I hear that you are eager to learn all there is to know about this wonderful profession. So please sit back, get comfy, and letâ€™s enlighten ourselves as we take a journey around the design world. Shodor Uddin
“GOSH, THAT’S A TRICKY QUESTION...” First and foremost, to be a designer it is crucial to understand the industry, like it is for any other field. You need to know what design means to you, but also what it means to others. So the question stands, what is a graphic designer? Many have tackled the question that seem to commonly leave people with a confused look on their face. Peter Lant, designer, argues that “A successful design career is possible without forfeiting self-respect as long as you do not undervalue (or overvalue) your work.” But for a broader overview of peoples definitions we would have to ask them through the usual surveys or typical questionnaires. How boring, right? Well I thought long and hard about ways of gathering this data with a bit more creativity. But all that thinking hurt my head. So instead, I decided to keep pester the unsuspecting public to draw their answers. This way we can visually see their interpretation of what a graphic designer is to them – Brilliant! Below are a compilation of my findings from both graphic designers and the general public. Let the drawings speak for themselves. Enjoy!
“ DO YOU HaVE TO HAVE a BEARD aND GLASSES TO BE TAKEN SERiOUSLY AS A GRAPHiC DESiGNER?”
BiZZARE AS iT SOUNDS, iS THiS TRUE? Samer Dabra, 21, Wales designer of Spontaneous Ingenuity, has made a career in the design world and now gives his view on the stereotypes of what makes a designer.
DO YOU HAVE TO HAVE A BEARD & GLASSES TO BE TAKEN SERiOUSLY AS A GRAPHiC DESiGNER? *laughs* “Well I do not have a beard and wear glasses so I think people have built on a stereotype that has been around for a long time. When asked what is a graphic designer is people generally refer to the stereotypical look that everyone relates too. Glasses give off a smart vibe so I would not mind being categorised as a bearded man who wears glasses!”
DESCRIBE A MODERN GRAPHIC DESIGNER STEREOTYPE? “would always picture a graphic designer as a stubbly male in a pair of chinos, glasses, a checked shirt and cardigan but nowadays you cannot pin point a graphic designer because more and more different types of people are entering the industry. However I think the stereotype still remains and it is harder for people who do not look like the stereotypical graphic designer to be taken seriously.”
SO WHERE DO YOU THINK THIS STEREOTYPE HAS COME FROM? “Umm… Working long hours and not having time to shave? No seriously, for me being a graphic designer is like getting paid for doing something I love and sometimes it consumes so many hours of your day and you do not even realise. It can be stressful so the stereotype might come from this because when you are stressed, shaving is not your number one priority!”
GRAPHiC DESIGN A MALE OR FEMALE DOMiNATED INDUSTRY? “I think the design industry has been dominated by men from the start; well that’s certainly how the media has portrayed it. I do feel there are more male designers but women definitely give a lot to the design world. The fashion industry in particular shows a comprehensive amount of successful female designers. This is definitely a good thing for the design industry because having a new perspective on things can never be a bad thing.”
DOES A MALE DOMINATED INDUSTRY MAKE IT HARDER FOR FEMALE DESIGNERS TO BE NOTICED? “I personally would not choose to work with a designer purely because of their sex, for me it is not about gender, it is about talent. It is however clear that there are more male designers in the graphic design industry but there is a new wave of female designers and I think the divide between the sexes has definitely decreased.”
Samer feeling spontaneous © Spontaneous Ingenuity 2008
REINVENTING THE “F” WORD! Feminsm, the result of women being unappreciated in the professional world for decades. Yes, times have changed now yet women designers are still not considered by many when reviewing the industry. Notice how every drawing collected on page 4 and 5 are all images of men? and that most stereotypes are of men with beargs and glasses? The Guerrilla Girls, founded in 1985, are t Mainly consisting of posters and banners, example right, these images challenged the sexism issues people are facing in the world of art.
TALKING GUERRiLLA HOW DID THE GUERRILLA GIRLS START? “In 1985, The Museum of Modern Art in New York opened an exhibition titled An International Survey of Painting and Sculpture. It was supposed to be an up-to-the minute summary of the most significant contemporary art in the world. Out of 169 artists, only 13 were women. All the artists were white, either from Europe or the US. That was bad enough, but the curator, Kynaston McShine, said any artist who wasn’t in the show should rethink “his” career. And that really annoyed a lot of artists because obviously the guy was completely prejudiced...”
WHAT DID YOU DO? “We decided to find out how bad it was. After about 5 minutes of research we found that it was worse than we thought: the most influential galleries and museums exhibited almost no women artists. When we showed the figures around, some said it was an issue of quality, not prejudice. Others admitted there was discrimination, but considered the situation hopeless. Everyone in positions of power curators, critics, collectors, the artists themselves passed the buck. The artists blamed the dealers, the dealers blamed the collectors, the collectors blamed the critics, and so on. We decided to embarrass each group by showing their records
in public. Those were the first posters we put up in the streets of SoHo in New York .”
WHY ARE YOU ANONYMOUS? “The art world is a very small place. Of course, we were afraid that if we blew the whistle on some of its most powerful people, we could kiss off our art careers. But mainly, we wanted the focus to be on the issues, not on our personalities or our own work... We joined a long tradition of (mostly male) masked avengers like Robin Hood, Batman, The Lone Ranger, and Wonder Woman....”
WHAT ABOUT THE SHORT SKIRTS, HIGH HEELS & FISHNET STOCKINGS? “Wearing those clothes with a gorilla mask confounds the stereotype of female sexiness”
WHAT’S THE HUMOUR? “...It felt so good to ridicule and belittle a system that excluded us. There was also that stale idea that feminists don’t have a sense of humor.”
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO APOLOGIZE FOR? “Our spelling mistakes.” Interview from their first book, Confessions of the Guerrilla Girls, published in 1995. Copyright ©1995 by Guerrilla Girls, Inc.
Tackling the problem head on! Example work of the Guerrilla Girls. Copyright ÂŠ1995 by Guerrilla Girls, Inc. www.guerrillagirls.com
IS A WORKING KNOWLEDGE OF ADOBE CS ALL YOU REALLY NEED TO QUALIFY AS A GRAPHIC DESIGNER?
SURPRISING. LIKE EXAM RESULTS ! So it turns out that the vast majority of young design students are experts on the obvious adobe CS software, Photoshop with Illustrator coming second in the ranks. Otherwiese many seem to have merely basic skills on some of the most popular modern design-based programs and software packages.
been specifically designed to carry out a function. For example, working book and text formatted design (such as this you are reading at the moment) are not best suited for the favourited Photoshop or Illustrator, but should be produced on programs such as InDesign as it has the correct formats, columns and printing setups.
What does this say about Shockingly, despite the list our future designers? Is this of programs in this survey all being pretty well known, even a bad thing? some went by un-heard of The fundamentals of graph- by our young designers. The ic design is to be able to lack of awareness could be communicate an idea to the issue here. the target audience. If the majority of young designers are able to clearly communicate their ideas with just Photoshop, why should that be considered to be wrong? On the other side of the argument, we can suggest that there are many different platforms out there for a reason. Each software has
“i do everything on Photoshop... it’s the only program i need...” “haven’t even heard of that...” QUARK EXPRESS:
is like masturbation. it is selfish and introverted and done for you and you alone. Design is like sex. There is someone else involved, their needs are just as important as your own, and if everything goes right, both parties are happy in the end.â€? COLIN WRIGHT
co-founder of Solipsys Limited
Newspaper Club project at LCC - 15 page publication addressing issues related to young graphic designers