‘Graphics has hit a watershed, not knowing which way to go from here. With all stylistic trends plundered, is there anywhere to go but backwards?’ So asked Mike Dempsey while judging this year’s Design Week Awards. Is he right, and where can the sector go creatively?
What goes around, comes around. Designers have always been inspired by design movements and heroes. It’s an essential part of any design education. However, many designers today only seem inspired by the latest trendy design magazine. The result is a deep rut, where every job looks the same, every client looks the same and production techniques become a poor substitute for ideas. Going forward, the industry must be brave. Identify what makes clients unique, and reflect this in the work produced for them.
Garry Blackburn, Partner, Rose Design
The watershed was hit quite some time ago. There is no backwards. Putting stylistic trends and creative reference points to one side, the present creative industry landscape is defined by two factions. First, the large financially astute consultancies; influential, powerful yet creatively lacking. Second, the small, culturally astute studios; influential, powerless and financially lacking. In an extremely sophisticated marketplace, both are disappointing. The middle ground is where I think the future lies, which is what successful, large or small, contemporary design cultures have known for quite some time. Among all the talk, this is where the interesting creative work has come from and they’ve quietly been getting on with it.
Jonathan Ellery, Founder, Browns
It is painful and ridiculous to think that going backward is the way forward. Some say there is no such thing as an original idea, but there is, and that’s exactly what designers are for. In fact, never has graphic design needed to work so hard to be fresh and original as now.
Jim Stoddart, Art director, Penguin Press