In short, I love this article! I mean love and I highly recommend reading it in its entirety. One of the things that frustrates me in general about the evolution of American culture over the last 10-20 years is that we incessantly have to ‘be nice.’ Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for civility, but I’m as baffled as the author about when a polite objection or disagreement, especially about an intellectual concept like design, become a horrific faux pas.
Why can’t we be adults and remove our emotional investment into ideas in order to debate their merits? Is it hard? Yes. But does it have the potential to teach us more about ourselves as both designers and individuals thus making our work better? Yes. I understand how emotionally invested and inherently personal a design can become. It is after all an expression of creativity, intellect, yourself, or some combination thereof, but I think the author summed it up best with her reference to a quote by Massimo Vignelli,
“The main function of criticism is not that of providing flattering or denigrating review but that of providing creative interpretations of the work, period or theory being analyzed. Graphic design will not be a profession until we have criticism.”
So if you’re a creative ‘professional’, can you really afford to not have criticism as part of your industry? Personally, I don’t think so. As design becomes a greater part of our cultural ethos, wouldn’t you like to encourage and teach the rest of the 90% or more of non-designers the difference between good and bad design? If only, so that you’re not embarrassed by some of the schlock that gets passed off under the heading of design? More importantly, if design wants to be taken seriously by society, it can’t afford to be that cliched art critic that talks in terms the common man doesn’t understand and then mocks. Design is a powerful tool that has the potential to do a lot of good in our ever increasing media and technology influenced society. We shouldn’t set it up to be trivialized.
“Alice Twemlow, the chair of the design- criticism M.F.A. program at the School of Visual Arts, argued that criticism does the most good when it moves from talking about design to talking about society and the world. But that’s exactly where I see the gap. “
Read more at PrintMag.com: An Anatomy of Uncriticism
I’m a print and science nerd so I love 3D printing projects. When they have lovely design values and could be considered art, all the better.
I recently discovered this project, which has apparently been around a while. Called “A Cup A Day”, it’s a design project aiming to redesign the basic coffee cup once a day for a month. Each cup designed is available for sale. Some of them are pretty cool. Check it out here.
Double Espresso Cup