Dear Mr Glaser, you were wrong.
I know it was a long time ago when he said it, but the relationship that a graphic designer shares with a computer is not comparable to the relationship between the microwave and cooking. In the eyes of a chef, microwaves are the lazy option. They are bland and cheap and represent a compromise of quality in favour of time. They impose limitations without bringing new opportunities and offer the benefit of saving time at the expense of quality. This is not the case with computers. I realise that I am preaching to the choir here but we all wrestle from time to time with a certain nostalgia for the past. You know, the ‘proper’ way of doing things.
Well I used to be part of that mold. Not long ago my love for graphic design was quite solely reserved for the printed side of graphics and I had little time or energy for the digital side of things. I thought the web world and coding side of things was not for me, but that didn’t last long. I found myself discovering the potential of the web, at the same time that I came across it’s limitations. My problem was not having an online portfolio and along the way to solving it, I discovered a whole world of new options and new potential that I was not expecting.
Glaser’s reductive microwave analogy doesn’t allow for the array of opportunities that arise and continue to emerge from computers and the new design spaces they are forging. Speaking for D&AD’s Blank Sheet Project here (about 5 minutes in) Neville Brody describes his optimism about the fresh spaces opening up online that are just waiting to be designed. Take Pinterest for example; it simultaneously formed a recognisably unique grid approach while capitalising on our need to harness web data for personal use; and it’s not just websites. Online museum exhibitions are cropping up now, making available anywhere what was previously not available at all. Then there are identities that embrace the dynamism of digital communication, using the web to create multifaceted public images that could not be afforded in the permanence of print. Notably, the ever-changing SALT identity, Mit Lab and this publication which we have mentioned before in this post. If that’s not enough to get you to reconsider your reluctance towards digital, then I don’t know what will. I am now more excited than ever about the possibilities of new digital spaces and particularly how great design can help us make them more useful.
What’s the thing you hate most about having to use a pc or mac? What could you not live without? Get in touch and let us know your thoughts.