← Tangible tools
This thesis speaks of modern graphic design. It is written from a personal perspective on the field, and on how I think it is understood. I feel like graphic design has become to be understood as purely utilitarian. A decorative function of communication. With this text, I follow an intuition that misunderstandings of what graphic design is come from the ways it is practised, on computers, with computers and for a computer based existence. I believe misunderstandings exists inside and outside the field, but this thesis will concentrate on my perceptions as a designer from within.
Researching this feeling requires the investigation of three main points; firstly, the notion of craft. How can craft be defined, and how has it's understanding changed with the the adoption of general purpose computers as tools. Secondly, a dive into the existing confusion between efficiency and efficacy in software tools. Efficiency being an avoidance of waste, efficacy being the ability to produce a desired effect. The interchangeability of these two notions lead me to understand the nature of some software tools, how they interface with me, and how that interfacing effects the use and understanding of the tool. Lastly, the learning curve of alternative interfaces is considered, what the payoff of a more invested relation to software tools may be, and what I believe is at stake when interfaces try to disappear.
I'm developing the opinion that for graphic design not to be seen as a simple utility, designer themselves must change their relations to their practice and their tools, so the secondary thematic of this text is interfacing —as an active verb. I refuse to accept the constructs that show the digital world as totalities, I believe I must see them as wrappers and conventions that masquerade as solutions to problems. Interfaces are a type of dialog. While developing this text, the realisation that the dialog was not neutral became clearer and clearer. With the setting of graphic design, I'll consider what it means to be an end-user.
"The computer world deals with imaginary, arbitrary made up stuff that was all made up by somebody. Everything you see was designed and put there by someone. [...] There are so many ideas to care about, and with ideas comes the politics of ideas." (Ted Nelson, 2012)
← Tangible tools
→ Chapter 1 — Defining ‘craft’