'It is unfortunate that a large majority of contemporary graphic design is nothing but an act of self-preservation to stay “relevant,” to get respect from other designers and to be published on blogs visited by only designers. We have lost ourselves within this plethora of aesthetically pleasing, warm-feeling nostalgic drivel and it seems like the present day love for illustrated typography and graphics is cementing itself as the end-all way to design. As graphic designers we should be able to adapt to a client’s needs and be enthralled with the notion of creating and developing a variety of new cultures; we should not be satisfied with our profession idling in a period of imitation, waiting for someone to create something new that can be copied, again.
This has been said before and it bears repeating: design is not a noun, it is a verb. Illstaglia conveys graphic design as a “thing” to users, consumers and clients. For practitioners, illstalgia promotes individualism that only other designers can appreciate. We all want something that is aesthetically pleasing and illstagia achieves that but only that. Thoughtful design, developed through a process, creates artefacts that have longevity and improve lives with an equal, if not greater, aesthetic allure. I am not saying illustration has no place in the design field nor am I saying that illstalgia is ugly. What needs to be understood about this trend is that it is simply that: a trend. As students we cannot develop our portfolios around a style. As professionals we cannot attribute a style onto a client because it is currently trending. As practitioners we cannot drown ourselves in our practice’s obsessions. We must live up to the title of designer not copycat.'
This excerpt relates nicely to my section on anti-aesthetics and speculation. It is highly opinionated but grounded in an informed, authentic theoretical background.
'Lost In Illstalgia', 2014
“Who you are is not a function of where you are,” is a quote I recite to myself when moments in life have me down. It can mean a myriad of things, such as living in a major city doesn’t equal success, or being raised in an impoverished environment doesn’t mean you can’t become successful later in life. The same rings true with the idea of killing off the term “graphic design.” Just because you call it something else doesn’t mean its maladies disappear and people (practitioners or otherwise) are suddenly in concurrence. Conversely, just because the term has been defaced doesn’t mean we can’t fix it. At a time in which the public sphere is interested and invested in our discipline, we need to be honest about who we are and what we are doing as a profession and as a discipline. To quote Peter Hall’s The Uses of Failure lecture, “we don’t need to justify design’s importance to the world or to the art establishment. We need to look into how design works and where it is going wrong. We need a new generation not to venerate design but to sniff out failure.”
'The Future of What', 2015