I’m admittedly a bit over-vocal to my peers about how much I dislike [what I consider] the East Coast Graphic Design Tradition. As a student of fashion, musical sub-cultures, other cultures in general, nothing about Glaser or Rand’s work struck me as true. I felt appreciation for the formal qualities of their reductivism, yet alienated by what felt like packaged good feeling sung to an Us Versus Them tune. I refer to that [distinctly and unfortunately American] work as “one-liners”, partly because it stalls serious consideration, past maybe a few inches. Design is not and never was a mass duke-out to see who’s wittier and quicker in cheerfully solving X or Y. If its students see themselves as commodities in competition for the attention of creative directors and ad agency budgets, we continue to disservice meaningful collective dialogue and lock ourselves further into complacency. Long-term effects range from the literal (poorly balanced pay scales) to the less tangible but more grave (a skewed way of engaging with our surroundings and manufacture).
In light of the rather unfortunate decision made above, I return to this quote from Harsh’s post on The New Graphic. When you aren’t trying to design the punchline, you can come up with ethically sound ideas that are free from ego. I prefer this.