graphic design revisited | wk5_1

graph·ic (gra-fik)

Relates to a written or pictorial representation, described in vivid detail, realting to graphic arts, or a pictorial device used  to convey a message.

Shelly Evenson in her presentation for the New Contexts, New Practices Symposium discusses some of the changes int eh industry today.  Among other changes she wondered if the word “graphic” was still relevant today.  Once one gets past the immediate questions, you begin to see that what Evenson is proposing makes sense .  She recognizes that many designers would go through a crisis of identity.  (Evenson) Yet lately as someone trained in interior design and tangentially in graphic design, find that I do not need to put any qualifiers in front of designer. The term designer alludes to some one who is capable of laying out a pleasing organized system of something; words on the page, rooms in a building, the interior trim of a vehicle, pages on the internet.  Much of this change of thinking has to do with a student who is required to take typography while studying architecture.  I am constantly trying to relate typography to her in terms of architecture.  Periods of design, classifications of typefaces. This could easily be periods of architectural design or classification of building structures. While there are distinct difference the principles of design are the same as is the ability to put things together skillfully.

Why pigeon hole someone with multiple aptitudes? 

If we look at the definition of graphic in the most related sense, a graphic designer would be someone who creates a pictorial device to illustrate a message.  This seems rather simplistic. In todays industry the designer needs to be able to create artifacts at the lowest end of the spectrum.  While the other end has the designer creating systems  that not only communicate a message, also incorporate social and environmental concerns, with the highest end recreating to bring positive change to the world.

Can a designer do all that alone?  While possible what’s more probable is the role collaboration will play in the process. This is were people with multiple aptitudes come together to effect change.

If not graphic design, what then?

Emergent.  Systems. Design for good. Communications. Multi-media. Film maker. Web builder. Animator. Book builder. Typeface designer. Illustrator. Researcher. Organizer. Designer thinker. Presenter. Ideator. Mentor. Collaborator. Software aficionado.


Evenson, Shelly. Provocation #1, New Contexts, New Practices. NC State University. AIGA. 2011. <>

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