Manifesto overstates the scope of the problem and design’s influence

Who could disagree with the thrust of the Manifesto 2000 (DW 17 September)? Who would not rather spend their working day producing for the greater good?

Who could disagree with the thrust of the Manifesto 2000 (DW 17 September)?

Who would not rather spend their working day producing for the greater good? Who would not rather work on new signage for a hospital rather than an advertisement for a “butt toner”?

The problem, however, with the “new” manifesto is that it takes as its starting point an apocalyptic vision of the media age that even Marshall McLuhan may have baulked at. This in turn has led to a rather jaundiced view of the role of graphic design in society. That we live in a “mental environment so saturated with commercial messages that it is changing the very way citizen-consumers speak, think, feel, respond and interact” is, to say the least, debatable.

But, even if it were true, (apart from what would be the point of living) to lay this at the door of the humble graphic designer is even worse than what McLuhan did best when he took pot shots at the messenger (TV).

Like the manifesto, I too would like to “propose a reversal of priorities” in favour of a more useful starting point for a debate about the future of graphic design.

Alex Cameron

Cameron Sedley

London E

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