Vox Pop

Last week a letter from graphic design student Lisa Hastings raised the issue of whether graphic design and advertising are separate disciplines. Should they be taught as completely separate subjects and, if not, why?

‘They are not separate disciplines. In fact, a flick through a British Design & Art Direction Annual will show you they have adopted each other’s clothes for some years now. The only difference is that some designers and consultancies are, for a large part, talking to business and ad agencies to consumers. Designers tend to whisper, ad agencies tend to shout.’

David Stuart, Creative partner, The Partners

‘When I was at the D&AD Awards watching the work, the John West bear commercial stood out as “the big idea”. The previous year it was the Guinness horses. Being a great believer in the Renaissance man, both disciplines could be taught together on the simple principle of communicating the “creative spark” across all media – John Gillard knew all about that.’

Glenn Tutssel, Executive creative director, Tutssels, Enterprise IG

‘Whoa there. We’re into murky waters. I would say “yes” to making them separate subjects. A design course that focuses on understanding brands and communication could help create a better understanding between advertising and design, and as a consequence give future students a more inspirational portfolio. Both myself and Judi Green started our careers in advertising at ad agency J Walter Thompson. I can say that it has been a great advantage having had an advertising background and working across both disciplines.’

Brian Green, Independent designer

‘There’s a generation of advertising creatives who have been taught the business. They have been taught how to generate advertising ideas and execute them to “finish”. However, if you work in advertising you will listen to family and friends and hear what their ad is. It doesn’t matter how clever you are if no-one cares. Anyone can have an idea, but ad courses can create a lack of craft skills. As media flattens out again after the birth and (death?) of TV, we will be left with “brand development” – a welcome move back to commercial art and the graphic designers will be able to express themselves within it. History will record that graphics and advertising were one and then became separate disciplines – things have changed. As for teaching them, that will always happen after the fact.’

Mark Hurst, Art director, McCann-Erickson

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