One of the subfields of design is graphic design, which has a shifting definition but one we can recollect from the AFD.
The purpose of design as a creative, interdisciplinary, and humanist intellectual process is to address and offer answers to common, small-scale problems associated with economic, social, and environmental difficulties.
(For a complete explanation)
The dominant ideology or the ideological movements that challenge it directly influences graphic design as a design activity used in communication and information, resulting in many “graphic” currents.
The goals pursued by the designers and their sponsors have a direct impact on the media’s layout, content writing, and graphic choices.
Does this mean that graphic design is merely a tool without a soul?
A loyal servant with no independence?
And what should be considered about its future at the start of this upcoming period of immense upheaval?
We may rewrite this last query, which is the whole focus of this post, as follows:
in a world to be reinvented for humanity far from consumerism, does graphic design have a place?
Note that I refer to graphic designers frequently in this article so that the many, even majority, of professionals who engage in this activity won’t hold it against me. This article is written in French but is directed at all graphic designers regardless of gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, or preference for typefaces.
I’ll end this introduction by stating that as a graphic designer and graphic design instructor, my encounter with reality is what gave birth to this thought.
Numerous conversations with graphic designers, graphic design educators, and students who were pondering the purpose of their (future) work served as fuel for it.
These concerns generally result from the following four observations:
the circumstances in which creative persons perform their activity cause their weariness to occur more quickly;
the pain of students split between their search for purpose in a society that causes them anxiety and the pressure to be productive;
the decline in legitimacy of our profession, which has been increasingly limited to the function of serving hatch;
the collective search for a new sense of equilibrium in life and a new purpose to provide to our shared voyage.
Is the graphic designer a devoted employee?
Let’s highlight that graphic design has not always been limited to slavishly adhering to the dominant ideology without getting into a dispute among experts, which others have fueled with much more significance than I could.
It hides an inclination to seek disruption and, as a result, the questioning of the established order, at least in its aesthetic dimension, in its very character.
Let’s take “Slow Design,” which emerged in the early 2000s at the urging of English academic Alastair Fouad-Luke. Like the slow movement, which he is a part of, he advocates removing these activities from the relentless acceleration of economic life in favour of a period of realisation more in line with a rhythm that favours creativity, quality, and fulfilment.
Some graphic designers have adopted this attitude (in the broad sense).
It is evident, however, that despite receiving widespread support from the design community, this vision of the activity of design has not been kept as a way to organise our work.
The issue is that an insidious shift from content to form has occurred, with the designer primarily placing himself at the service of the ruling ideology, ultra-liberal capitalism, without mentioning it.
Thus, in the service of the consumption of things and pre-chewed ideas, the work of the graphic designer is all too frequently restricted to visual bluster or convenient slogans.
II. The state of graphic design today
The graphic designer is now effectively a specialised worker responsible for selling while “making it appear good,” no matter how offended our egos may be over this.
A visual technician, a component of the system who now only occasionally seeks meaning through the creation of graphics.
The phrase “creativity,” which we overuse to the point of indigestion, is nothing more than a shadow of itself, exalting excessively the smallest motion design, graphic flourish, or colorimetric bravado.
Although it ought to be our defence against uniformity and our impetus to make us more demanding.
This trend has been further supported by the economy’s digitalisation.
In fact, when we look past the semantic cloak of digital newspeak, we may see that most outstanding speeches are simply commercial expressions of poorly understood concepts.
Who doesn’t discuss SEO, SMO, and AdWords with his clients in order to appear knowledgeable while he is afraid of having to put them into practise?
Let’s acknowledge, for the sake of appeasement, that when a graphic designer dons the hat of a digital strategist, it frequently has less to do with intellectual dishonesty and more to do with a lack of training time, ease, or absurd finances for producing intelligently and thoughtfully.
Because of the shared obligations in this trend of our practises, the sponsor who is constantly looking for methods to get more for less is not immune from criticism.
The designer is frequently willing to use “graphic techniques” without being engaged in the content because the fact is that work must be done faster for a constantly dropping cost.
It then merely serves as a component of mass consumerism.
a mechanism that is weakened by resale websites that provide preformatted graphic solutions made at a loss by graphic designers looking for a few euros to survive at prices that are bordering on the indecent.
Even worse, after seven decades of ideological structuring, the graphic designer has a wide range of semantic tools at his disposal to “dress in virtue” the ideas he advocates without having to bother about firmly establishing his claims in actuality.
He participates in his client’s marketing while blatantly disavowing his own lies.
Even further, the monarchs of Big Data’s marketing and data analysis tools analyse the shortcomings of the “targets” in order to make better use of their credulity and “weaknesses”.