First Things First
This seminar introduces historical and current debates (and visual practices) that address the social purpose of graphic design and the social responsibility of the designer. “For many who entered into the debates over which style was appropriate to the industrial age, design held the fate of civilization in its hands. Conscientiously applied, it could transform social reality. It could help to bring about a utopian future, or if misused, put a varnish on barbarism. Intrinsic to these notions was the conviction that designers must be involved in an ongoing evalution of their work and of its implications for society. Today such thinking is rare.” – Stuart Ewen
keywords: political graphic art and design; manifesto; social responsibility; design ethics; utopia; culture jamming
seminar reading (to be read prior to the seminar; see pdf above): Ewen, Stuart. Note for the New Millennium – Is the Role of Design to Glorify Corporate Power? in Heller, S and Vienne, V eds (2003). Citizen Designer. Allworth Press. pp191-195
1. Discuss the First Things First Manifesto(s). Is it still relevant today? Would you, as a designer, sign it?
2. ‘We will uncool their billion dollar brands’. What is the Culture Jammer’s movement’s analysis of our culture and what is culture jamming trying to do? How successful is culture jamming as a technique?
3. The revolution will be visualised – what can art/design contribute to social or political movements?
4. Open question (if you want to investigate something else that is related to my lecture’s topic, then email me to discuss: firstname.lastname@example.org)
other practitioners to investigate: Peter Kennard, Martha Rosler, Jan van Toorn, Pierre Bernard/Grapus, Metahaven, Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, Billboard Liberation Front, Emory Douglas, The Situationist International, Barbara Kruger, Gran Fury, Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative, Alexander Rodchenko, Constructivism, Atelier Populaire, Image/Shift…
Heller, S and Vienne, V eds (2003). Citizen Designer. Allworth Press
Lavin, Maude (c2001). Clean New World: Culture, Politics, and Graphic Design. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Klein, Naomi (1999). No Logo. London: Penguin.
Ewen, Stuart (2001) Captain of Consciousness: Advertising and the Social Roots of the Consumer Culture, 25th Anniversary. Basic Books.
Lasn, Kalle (1999). Culture Jam. Quill. Available at:http://library.uniteddiversity.coop/Media_and_Free_Culture/Culture_Jam.pdf (Accessed: 8 January 2015)
Garland, Ken et all. First Things First.
Poynor, Rick (1999). First Things First Revisited. Emigre 51. Available at:http://www.emigre.com/Editorial.php?sect=1&id=13 (Accessed: 18 December 2014)
Peters, Cole (2014). Why I am Renewing the First Things First Manifesto. Adbusters, 05 February. Available at: https://www.adbusters.org/blogs/why-i-am-renewing-first-things-first-manifesto.html (Accessed: 18 December 2014)
First Things First 2014 (on Twitter): https://twitter.com/firstthings2014
Beirut, Michael (2006). ‘Regrets Only’. The Design Observer, 07 October. Available at:http://designobserver.com/feature/regrets-only/4517 (Accessed: 18 December 2014)
Heller, Steven (2012). ‘How AIDS Was Branded: Looking Back at ACT UP Design’. The Atlantic, 12 January. Available at:http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/01/how-aids-was-branded-looking-back-at-act-up-design/251267/(Accessed: 18 December 2014)
Colette Gaiter, “Visualizing a Revolution: Emory Douglas and The Black Panther Newspaper,” AIGA (8 June 2005).
Glover, Danny (2007). Black Panther: The revolutionary art of Emory Douglas. Rizzoli International Publications.
Beirut, Michael (2012). ‘The Poster that Launched a Movement (or not). The Design Observer, 30 April 2012 http://designobserver.com/feature/the-poster-that-launched-a-movement-or-not/32588/ (Accessed: 1/2/2015)
The Occupied Times http://theoccupiedtimes.org/
Bernard, Pierre (1997) ‘The Social Role of the Designer’ in Essays on Design 1: AGI’s Designers of Influence. Available at: http://backspace.com/notes/2009/09/the-social-role-of-the-graphic-designer.php(Accessed: 18 December 2014)
van Toorn, Jan (2003). Design’s Delight: Method and Means of a Dialogic Approach. 010 Uitgeverij
Carrot Workers’ Collective (2010). Surviving Internship – A Counter Guide to Free Labour in the Arts. Available at: https://carrotworkers.wordpress.com/counter-internship-guide/
Heartfield, John ‘Appeasement’ 1939