I'm approaching my DPS year with perhaps a naive excitement and healthy skepticism. I am a graphic designer “a person who combines text and pictures in advertisements, magazines, or books” I've added This rather oversimplified definition not to discredit the importance of the job i've chosen, quite the opposite. Im very aware of the cultural, political, significance especially in the interconnected immediacy of our internet age. The reason I am so tentative in taking my first steps into industry isn't a lack of confidence or ability, its awareness of the responsibility I have as a designer and an uncertainty for my passion in a commercial context.
From my little experience of commercial work I have sometimes struggled to assume the role of ‘employee’ especially if I don't agree with the brief. I realise this is a huge contradiction to my desire to be a graphic designer but I think I need to discern what parts about this job I love and what elements I take issue with. The potentially highly restrictive transactional nature of the industry is so far removed from what i'm interested in. Sometimes I worry i'm signing up to a life of oppressive corporate briefs to aid in selling pointless stuff at the expense of the environment.
Im self aware enough to recognise my privilege, in fact to be even complaining about the morality of graphic design may seem ideological and naive. Some of my pessimism may be attributed to nerves but I think it's important to introspect and recognise that along with my excitement to make an impact there's aspects of this job that don’t align with my social, environmental or even creative sensibilities.
I believe my relative juniority in industry will limit the amount I can design socially/ politically but having an understanding of concepts can have a big impact on my mindset. Design futuring is a concept written in tony fry’s book “Design Futuring argues that responding to ethical, political, social and ecological concerns now requires a new type of practice that recognises design's importance in overcoming a world made unsustainable” it details how best as designers to navigate a complex, networked and technologically driven world’.This gives me hope that I can be constructive in what I choose to create.
My apparent cynicism towards the design industry isn't without a lot of excitement. I must communicate my fervour for craft, problem solving and aesthetics. My role is not yet clear but to be able to hone skills in typography, print and editorial design not only gives me a huge amount of gratification but also the power to make what I want, and more importantly to make a difference.
I have had an amazing start to my DPS year by joining Astrid Stavro's team at pentagram. There's a huge amount i've learnt about process, communication and teamwork from this experience that I don't feel I can do justice until i have finished. This initial placement although my only reference point has started to give me an idea of where my role might be in industry. Although I am skeptical of the role design/ advertising plays in our society, I am hopeful that the experiences I have this year I might begin to help me find a place within industry where I feel both ethically and creatively satisfied.