Graphic designers: where do we go from here?

Graphic designers: where do we go from here? We don’t know, but one man having a good go at answering this tricky conundrum is Ken Garland – a man whose solutions are likely to be better than most.

Ken Garland Associates in the studio, 1982 (Ken’s on the right)
Ken Garland Associates in the studio, 1982 (Ken’s on the right)

Garland, who is now in his 80s, will be discussing this topic as well as providing an overview of his career at a talk in Bristol this week, talking place at the Arnolfini theatre.

The designer is no stranger to tackling the big and difficult issues in design, having created the 1964 First Things First manifesto (which was updated in March this year to better reflect the prominence of the Internet).

First Things First Manifesto, 1964
First Things First Manifesto, 1964

The original piece acted as a call to arms to radicalise designers and warn against the ‘sheer noise’ of the ‘high-pitched scream of consumer selling’ in a bid to oppose the emerging sense that design was best used to sell and advertise.

The manifesto, signer by designers including Brian Grimbly, Ken Briggs and Gerry Cinamon, stated, ‘We think that there are other things more worth using our skill and experience on.’ 

Prior to the publication of First Things First, Garland was heavily involved in shaping the visual aesthetics of the British Nuclear disarmament campaign.

CND poster, 1962
CND poster, 1962

His talk will explore the ‘values, wisdom and ideology’ that have shaped his career, says the Arnolfini, which is hosting the event.

Commercial projects have included the beautifully playful branding for Galt Toys, shown below.

Galt Toys catalogue, 1969
Galt Toys catalogue, 1969

Graphic designers: where do we go from here? Takes place on 14 May at 7pm at the Arnolfini, 16 Narrow Quay, Bristol, Avon BS1 4QA

Ken Garland
Ken Garland

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