What does it mean to be a graphic designer in a world that is in transition? A world where old economic models are under fire, established institutions are in danger of disappearing and fundamental social behaviours are changing. The documentary The new design landscape dives into this question.
The movie made by Erwin Slegers, head of the graphic design department at HKU University of the Arts Utrecht, sparks the discussion about the graphic design profession and the future of education in this field. What is the role of the designer in the new reality? Are we standing on the eve of the ‘fluid’ design? Is it time for graphic designers to undo themselves? To reinvent themselves in another way?
Thoughts on these questions come from Felix Janssens, creative director at Total Identity, Annelys de Vet, head of the design department at Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam, Jan van Toorn, graphic designer and former head of the Jan van Eyck Academy, design historian Kirsten Algera, Dimitri Nieuwenhuizen, director of design agency LUST and Jasper Hauser, design manager at Facebook
Here are some of their statements:
‘Everybody is a designer, from Papanek, is more true than ever. The designer doesn’t design things anymore, but designs conditions.’
‘Today it’s not about designing the information, but it’s about how we deal with information.’
Annelys de Vet
‘You see too much design that is too personal and decorative, too much stereotypical in the use of imagery, even though human capacity is much greater, the combination of text and image, the multitude of forms. That has been greatly neglected in design.’
Jan van Toorn
‘I have nothing to do with the idea and with the term graphic design, because the discipline doesn’t exist anymore.’
‘A designer has become a theorist, researcher, artist, philosopher, scientist, programmer and much more. So many that it’s become harder to connect it all together.’
‘You see too many deaf-and-dumb designers, who are excellent at one thing, but very bad at everything else.’
‘Designers who can think creatively and solve problems are very well positioned to play a constructive and leading role in how we should automate things and make them enjoyable, easy, and beautiful.’
‘If we don’t allow teachers and students to renew education, the whole system could implode. And students will ultimately view education as totally superfluous. Because it no longer teaches you who to become, but just a method. That won’t help you find your place in society, shaping things with other people.’