Heroes United

Though these people might not like to be on the same list, it’s my list damnit. Carson, you made it because you pushed limits. And you consciously thought about doing that.

Sorry Mr. Beirut. Experimentation and play do not equal void of thought and insight. Especially when its a conscious choice and a decision to solve a visual problem without a plan. The plan is to not have one. I’ve worked in both methods and found them both satisfying. Though I do think Carson is lucky for being able to pursue his body of play for such a long period of time.

It would be equivalent to hating Anthony Bourdain because he gets to travel with a loosely knit plan and is duly compensated. Work is work. The people spoke. They enjoyed Ray Gun and Beach Culture. Design is largely a series of choices and solutions to problems, whatever philosophy we develop over the years. To choose to design intuitively is a choice in itself, even if it is unorthodox. The logic of Rand and Vignelli are equally as circular, if not more so. And dropping names means nothing to the visual.

My favorite is Emigre…

Is it a valuable exercise for a critic to say that someone’s work is devoid of thought? Or is it a failure of the critic to recognize that the many seeds of a medium will germinate with or without their incumbent resistance? Or acquiescence?

Observation of a weed or a flower does not prevent the weed or flower from growing somewhere else in the yard. Further, critique of that flower’s method of conveying beauty, or this weed’s nontraditional use of pollination is pretty much useless in the face of an information age where thresholds are reached almost daily.

It would not have been possible to do the work Carson did in the 1800s. A series of things had to happen for him to reach the conclusions he came to on his own (with the help of many others, for certain. Name a person that is not inspired or who does not rip ideas off others, even in small increments. How else do we evolve as designers, artists, or even humans?). He stood on the shoulders of giants (notably, Weingart, for example), if you will.

An example of this comes from the notable ADC in New York City. I had a friend and fellow student at the Savannah College of Art and Design that made a book entitled “And Then There were Ten” inspired by Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians. Several months later, an interesting print came out on the cover of the very same book by a Certain NYC Press.

Interesting how her professor was friends with someone in the upper echelons of this Press. Interesting how her work was shown to this Press and others in the ADC. Interesting how she never received compensation for her work though the only thing changed about it was the color. Her work itself was inspired by Saul Bass. But she stylized it enough away from the legend that it didn’t appear that way any longer. The point is that there is no point.

People lie, cheat, and steal ideas. Our industry is largely invested in the idea. The nature of ideas is that they are fleeting and often ethereal. Therefore they are snatched up and articulated to various degrees by various methodologies and various individuals.

As varying as the individuals are, so vary their approaches. This favors instinct over strictly regimented order. This favors a squared grid. This favors intellectual elitism and sweeping, broad statements about the death of thought. This one favors open debate. This favors a clash. That favors the death of chaos. That favors the life of inanity.

There will not be an end to either as long as life exists on the planet. There will always be a struggle. There is no end to any of it. There won’t ever be. Absolutes don’t exist though there will always be those that favor their corners and rolltop desks. Those from the Yale School versus the surfers on the shores of California. They will both exist. A paramecium and an amoeba will always share, despite the others’ resistance.

If it’s the end of anything, it’s the end of understanding and beginnings. Things are going before they begin. Things end before they ever really get going. Few get the opportunity to enjoy the rhythms they create in their formative stages. Those that do seem to crush many others that try. And much is lost that never even starts. And where does it start? How? Will there be new life breathed into understanding and acceptance of alternative methods of visual problem-solving? I vote for the unification of all forms of problem-solving despite their being differences in individual approaches.


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