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Excerpts from Graphic Design in the Postmodern Era, by Jeffrey Keedy

“Perhaps the Internet will simply co-opt graphic design, incorporating it into its operating system. Maybe graphic design will cease to exist as a discreet practice and just become another set of options on the menu. Or is graphic design just a lubricant that keeps everything on the info highway moving - are we just greasing the wheels of capitalism with style and taste? If graphic designers play a major role in building the bridge to the twenty-first century, will they be recognized for their efforts? Do you remember typesetters?”

“Although intuition is a satisfactory explanation for a five-year-old’s crayon abstractions, it’s a bit weak for describing the computer-graphic-multinational-imperialism that is reshaping our global culture. Intuition is a generic term for a perceptive insight that is arrived at without using a rational process. It is a way of saying “educated guess” without defining the education of the “guesser.” That one’s source of inspiration could be unknowable, or at least indescribable, after the death of the author, and at the end of history, is understandable in these postmodern times. But the unwillingness of graphic designers to recognize their indebtedness to history, education, and their peers is not. At this juncture in its history, graphic design practice needs a more rigorous and responsible discourse. Maybe we should leave “instincts” and “intuition” to our furry friends; then we could reinstate history, education and current practice as our center for critical reflection, discourse, and inspiration.”

“Graphic designers are caught up in a media stream that is very wide and fast, but not very deep. The only way to navigate in it is to go faster or slower than the stream. To go faster you must be at the forefront of technology and fashion, both of which are changing at an unprecedented rate. To go slower you need an understanding of context through history and theory. Graphic designers are predisposed to going faster or slower according to their experience and inclination, but mostly they are getting swept along in the currents of pop mediocrity.”

“How we communicate says a lot about who we are. Looking at much of today’s graphic design one would have to conclude that graphic designers are twelve-year-olds with an attention deficit disorder. Designers today are representing our present era as if they were using a kaleidoscope to do it. Or more precisely, a constantly mutating digital collage machine, filled with a bunch of old “sampled” parts from the past, and decorated with special effects. Ultimately what we are left with is a feeling of aggravated and ironic nostalgia. This electronic Deja-vu-doo is getting old, again.”

(https://www.emigre.com/Essays/Magazine/GraphicDesigninthePostmodernEra)

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