Tag: Design Criticism

#ADesignLibrary: Modes of Criticism #5 (2019)

The grid system. The A-format of paper. Capitalism. Just some of the systems that graphic design operates in and often reproduces. In the fifth issue of the Modes of Criticism journal (2019), editor and designer Franciso Laranjo and other writers take apart “Design Systems” to trace the ideologies that shape the practice. From revealing Japanese design’s historical belief in “cultural supremacy” to exploring alternative values and practices to capitalism’s exploitative nature, the collection offers much food for thought about the systems we live in and where they have led us to today.

#ADesignLibrary spotlights lesser known design books, and invites public access to my personal collection of titles that focuses on Singapore architecture and design, Asian design, everyday design, critical and speculative design as well as design theory and philosophy. I welcome inquiries and physical loans.

The Seriously Lighter Side of Design Criticism

If the term “design criticism” brings to mind long, rambling essays that pale in comparison to their accompanying images and layout—you know, the serious, yawn-inducing stuff most word-averse designers feel duty-bound to plow through anyhow, this crop of recent sites—The Passable Designer, The Message is Medium Rare, and Reading Design—will jolt you out of your endless-scroll stupor and show you how critical writing about design can be smart, funny, and unexpected.

Read the rest at AIGA’s Eye on Design

What’s This Thing We Still Call Design Criticism?

This article is in response to “Criticizing Criticism: Too Little and Too Much,” by Steven Heller, which originally ran in AIGA’s The Journal in 1993 (vol. 11, no. 4). It’s part of a series in which we invite a new generation of design critics to page through our archives and respond to an unresolved design issue.

I still remember my first encounter. Eye magazine, issue 62, 2006: Rick Poynor first takes Vogue’s advertisements to task for fusing high fashion and brutish behavior. Pages later, Steven Heller demonstrates how the Nazi party exerted its cultural dominance through calligraphy, letter, and type.

As a then journalism student who dabbled with Photoshop and InDesign in my spare time, I was sold. Instead of switching careers to become a graphic designer, I could write about it instead. No one told me what Poynor and Heller did were examples of design criticism, but how they dug into what looked cool to reveal connections to history, society, and culture, opened my eyes. The only problem? I was in Singapore, where there was no specialized graphic design magazine. But through a stroke of luck, I met a group of local graphic designers eager to create one. The bi-annual journal never made me much money, but it kept my interest in writing about graphic design afloat.

Fast forward eight years, and I’m about to graduate from the School of Visual Arts’ Design Criticism program co-founded by Heller and Alice Twemlow. I even had a workshop with Poynor last year. I should be ready to produce graphic design criticism—but what does that really mean today?

Read the rest at AIGA’s Eye on Design