First Things First: can’t designers compromise?

I agree with Dave Amis (Letters, DW 29 October) and his view that the First Things First Manifesto 2000 is elitist. Even worse, it is almost comically self-indulgent. Reading the manifesto I find myself deeply irritated by its pieties about reversing the priorities of graphic designers. I simply don’t understand what the Manifesto 2000 people are wailing about. It all sounds like a lot of self-indulgent guilt massaging.

Obviously, many of them have been too busy raking in the profits from the “uncontested consumerism” they so decry to notice that many of us have long been busy applying our design skills to the “useful, lasting and democratic forms of communication” they so pompously claim to have rediscovered.

If some are feeling guilty about the huge profits they’ve made, all they have to do is put their skills to the “worthy” causes they identify, try to cope with the smaller profits and stop looking for praise for their non-discovery. Writing a manifesto and wearing a hair shirt in public are quite unnecessary.

The fact is that they make a false dichotomy between quality commercial design and what they see as worthy public information design. Many of us do both quite happily, and we have always wanted to do both. They are both important parts of the wonderfully diverse and democratic spectrum of modern information communication.

Richard Washington

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