| First Things First; A Manifesto

This reading was the first to come to my attention, since it concerns the field I am most comfortable with, which is graphic design.

On one hand, being a part of a generation that is bombarded with publications and advertising, I have to agree with this graphic design manifesto. Ads are EVERYWHERE, we cannot avoid them even if we tried: we see them on the highway, while waiting in line at the doctor’s office, in the public bathrooms and even in the sky. Even worse, the ads on the web adapt to your interests according to your web page history ! Consumers do not even notice these ads anymore, they are too numerous and it becomes confusing to pay attention to every single one of them. Take Tiime Square for example: the giant billboards are part of the city decor, but nobody really notices them as ads anymore. We see the ads more like accessories of the city scape than as communicators of an idea or specific product. This results in the making of even more aggressive ads, so that consumers will end up noticing them. It is an ongoing cycle of bombardment.

On the other hand, being a graphic designer whose professional experience has mainly been in the commercial industry, I have to disagree with the authors of the graphic design manifesto. Nothing is more stimulating and fun as a professional to brainstorm and develop a new ad campaign for a certain product on the market. It is immensely self-satisfying to see your completed ad on the highway, while waiting in line at the doctor’s office, in the public bathrooms or even in the sky. The greatest challenge as a graphic designer is to create ads that will get to consumer to look up and notice, and eventually get to desired reaction.

So maybe, just like the authors of the manifesto wrote, it would be more profitable for our national prosperity if all the energy graphic designers spend creating ferocious advertising campaigns, they would invest it in other media that promotes “our education, our culture and our greater awareness of the world”. The great campaigns of this world would then actually serve the population, not just inform them about yet another product that is available to them. Like mentioned in the text, there is no use to taking the fun out of life, both as a consumer who looks at those ads and a graphic designer who creates those ads.


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