Story I Graphic Design Conference

Designers are creators, yet must also respond to the needs of their clients. Is there a tension between a designer’s self-expression and the success of their enterprise? How do designers address this tension, if it exists? The goal of this conference is twofold: to inspire attendees to think critically about the role of self-expression within design, and to give an opportunity for speakers to reflect on their personal journeys as designers.

Story, Princeton University’s fifth-annual graphic design conference, invites celebrated designers along with students and faculty members from all across the nation to confront these questions.

http://www.princetonsda.com/story/

Superstorm Sandy: Response and Recovery

How can design offer solutions and pathways for prevention, recovery and rebuilding efforts in the wake of Superstorm Sandy? Join Cynthia E. Smith, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum’s Curator of Socially Responsible Design, and representatives from Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Architecture for Humanity-NY, Brightbox, and Solar One as they discuss the effects from the superstorm for the city and the east coast.

Date: Thursday, December 13, 2012 – 6:30pm to 8:00pm
Venue: Cooper-Hewitt Design Center, 111 Central Park North

http://www.cooperhewitt.org/events/superstorm-sandy-response-and-recovery

Where Are All the Black People?

“Where Are All the Black People?” is a combination of a call to action and a resource for diverse individuals to be introduced to the advertising industry, network, showcase their talents, and hear the stories of some of the top diverse creatives in the industry. The one-day event includes testimonials from top creatives of multicultural backgrounds, workshops on how to best position yourself for the job market, portfolio reviews, and sessions with agency recruiters.

http://www.wherearealltheblackpeople.com

Graphic Design – The Final Hours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eventbrite Page

During the final weekend of the exhibition “Graphic Design—Now In Production” on Governors Island, come talk with some of the field’s leading practitioners about life, death, and visual communications. Hear about how new and old media are changing how designers work; commiserate on the loss of some of the world’s greatest logotypes; and celebrate the birth of new design methods and talents.

Speakers include:
Keetra Dean Dixon and JK Keller
Elliott Earls
The Stone Twins
Alicia Cheng and Sarah Gephart, MGMT Design
Daniel van der Velden, Metahaven
Farhad Fozouni
Free ferries from Manhattan and Brooklyn:

http://govisland.com/html/visit/directions.shtml

Please travel on the 1:00pm ferry in order to arrive in time to be seated for the event at 2:00pm.

This is Display


www.thisisdisplay.org
Display is a curated collection of important modern, mid 20th century graphic design books, periodicals, advertisements and ephemera. Documenting, preserving and providing public access to these original materials will raise the profile of Graphic Design as a source of educational, historical and scholarly analysis for teachers, students, designers and independent researchers. From the rational to the experimental to the playful – our collection is varied and represents a distinct point of view about mid-century graphic design, typography and beyond.
Display is organized and designed by Kind Company, an independent web and print design office in Brooklyn, New York. Alongside client work, KindCo engages in self-initiated graphic design history projects. Their websites for the Alvin Lustig Archive and Helvetica and the New York City Subway System help generate inspiration and awareness about graphic design history, pioneers and artifacts. Partners – Greg D’Onofrio and Patricia Belen – are practicing designers, graphic design history enthusiasts, collectors and aspiring writers.

Design in the Service of Subversion

Article on ‘Graphic Design: Now in Production’ on Governors Island on NY Times

By MARTHA SCHWENDENER
Published: May 31, 2012

A person working in almost any field could have written a book like “How to Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul”: designers don’t have a monopoly on worker alienation, after all. But that title of Adrian Shaughnessy’s 2005 book reflects the special circumstances of graphic designers, who generally practice their art in the service of clients and commerce.

How much soul was or wasn’t lost in various acts of creation is not the ostensible point of “Graphic Design: Now in Production,” an exhibition, at Building 110 on Governors Island, of posters, books, magazines, typography, branding and film and television graphics created since 2000. And yet this theme underlies virtually every aspect of the show, which was organized by Andrew Blauvelt of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and Ellen Lupton of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, and which vacillates between design made for industry and design that critiques it.

The catalog is oriented toward the latter, and toward a view of design as a force for social change. Inspired by “The Last Whole Earth Catalog,” a ’70s guide to off-the-grid living, it includes essays like Ms. Lupton’s “Designer as Producer,” a quasi-retooling of Walter Benjamin’s “Author as Producer” (1934) — which encouraged artists and writers to transform their mediums in order to turn passive consumers into active producers — and a piece by the Dutch designer Daniel van der Velden that includes an epigraph from Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s post-Marxist anti-globalization epic, “Empire” (2000).

Even some of the most corporate designs are displayed in a way that aligns them with counterculture. The wall label introducing Google Doodles, the changing home page logos of that Internet behemoth, describes how the first one, in 1998, was meant “as a message to users that the founders were ‘out of the office’ attending the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert.” Examples here, shown on small video screens, include illustrated commemorations of Earth Day and John Lennon’s birthday.

A before-and-after display of redesigned corporate logos, including those of Pfizer and Starbucks, as well as the Library of Congress and the New York Public Library, incorporates a device recognizable to those familiar with contemporary art history: a polling system with plexiglass boxes in which viewers place chips to vote on their preferred versions. The display recalls Hans Haacke’s “Poll” art works, like “MoMA Poll” (1970), in which viewers were asked to register their opinions of Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller, a MoMA trustee, and his position on the Vietnam War. (Mr. Haake has said the work essentially got him banned from exhibiting at the museum for the next three decades.)

Avant-garde practices also inform a series of posters created for the exhibition by the Amsterdam design firm Experimental Jetset. The works borrow heavily from the French affichistes of the ’50s and ’60s, who appropriated torn posters from the streets, and the ’70s British punk designer Jamie Reid, famous for his Sex Pistols record covers. A quotation from Walter Benjamin’s “Arcades Project” (1927-40) on one of the posters compares the experience of viewing a cluttered commercial landscape to reading while stoned on hashish.

Books and magazines offer some of the most compelling designs here. David Pearson’s covers for books on the Penguin Press backlist, like Thomas More’s “Utopia” and Freud’s “Wolfman,” and Angus Hyland’s books of the Bible retool the canon for contemporary readers. Underground magazines like Manzine, The Gentlewoman and Sup Magazine spoof mainstream genres like men’s, women’s, and hipster-lifestyle magazines. Even typefaces, several examples of which are displayed on placards around the show, are treated as insurrectionary: Aktiv Grotesk, designed by Dalton Maag in 2010, is described as “a head-on challenge to the ‘over-hyped Helvetica.’ ”

Projects in which designers use their skills to turn information into more art-like objects and installations, away from the gaze of the client, make a more believable case for design’s radical potential. Kai Krause’s “True Size of Africa” (2010) is a map in which various non-African countries are fitted into an outline of the continent to offer a sense of Africa’s enormous size and, by extension, of its underrepresentation in geopolitics and world economics. Christopher Doyle’s “Identity Guidelines” (2008) is a series of self-portrait photos and texts that parodies fashion and personal branding, while the fake military patches that make up Trevor Paglen’s “Symbology (Volume I)” (2006) mimic the scary self-seriousness of classified intelligence units. “Facestate” (2011) by Dutch designers Metahaven is a canny if visually underwhelming kiosk installation that critiques social media as a method of surveillance and social control.

Works like these remind you that graphic designers possess a powerful skill set: the ability to persuade with images and text. What they actually do with these weapons of mass seduction is another story, however. The art critic Arthur Danto once suggested that American graphic designers helped win the cold war, since their products looked better on store shelves than their drab communist counterparts.

The subject of design in a utopian society is brought up in the catalog by Dmitri Siegel, who asks, “What would be the role of the designer in a truly do-it-yourself economy?” He offers Flickr, YouTube and MySpace as provisional examples; a series of eco-conscious Green Patriot Posters installed near the bathrooms suggests a darker, more dystopian view.

Within the exhibition context, design can easily be presented as utopian. It is striking, however, that from the building where this show is installed you can see, just across the water, the towers of Wall Street — a center of global capital, but also the physical and spiritual locus of the Occupy movement, which so far has barely tapped the radical power of graphic design.

“Graphic Design: Now in Production” is open weekends and holiday Mondays through Sept. 3 in Building 110 on Governors Island; (212) 849-8400, cooperhewitt.org.

A version of this review appeared in print on June 1, 2012, on page C21 of the New York edition with the headline: Design in the Service of Subversion.

The Happy Show by Stefan Sagmeister

April 4 – August 12, 2012

Graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister not only tests the boundary between art and design, he often transgresses it through his imaginative implementation of typography. Filling the Institute of Contemporary Art’s (ICA) entire second-floor galleries and Ramp, and activating the in-between spaces of the museum,The Happy Show offers visitors the experience of walking into the designer’s mind as he attempts to increase his happiness via mediation, cognitive therapy, and mood-altering pharmaceuticals. “I am usually rather bored with definitions,” Sagmeister says. “Happiness, however, is just such a big subject that it might be worth a try to pin it down.” Centered around the designer’s ten-year exploration of happiness, this exhibition presents typographic investigations of a series of maxims, or rules to live by, originally culled from Sagmeister’s diary, manifested in a variety of imaginative and interactive forms. The Happy Showopens on Wednesday, April 4, 2012 with a reception from 6–8pm, and will remain on view through August 12, 2012.