AIGA Philly Panel Discussion, Part I


Tonight, I went to a panel discussion of AIGA Philly originators, in celebration of AIGA’s centennial.

Oh god. So many feelings. Overall, I feel the mood was down. All of us are depressed about the state of our industry. How all these kids who watch a couple YouTube videos on Photoshop think they can call themselves graphic designers. How everything is template based, iStock photo generated, etc., etc. the list goes on and on. It definitely has been depressing me, I just didn’t know that others felt similarly. Misery loves company, right?

Someone in the audience did ask the question about how to distinguish ourselves as professionals in this increasingly growing population of wannabes (one member of the board commented how depressed she felt after seeing a sign in the window of FedEx advertising that they do graphic design)? The panel members talked about fundamentals, and intuitive sense, to have a good idea and how not even a computer can give you that.

There was some hope, some optimism in celebrating technology as a means to connect designers globally. How, in a design sense, different countries are becoming blurred. There’s no longer such a clear distinction of Russian, Polish, German, Brazilian, etc. graphic design. Makes me a little bit sad only because I think of it more as a cultural identity, but I can see it being beneficial in working together, bringing in strong design teams by pulling talent from across the globe.

I was really tickled about something I had mentioned to a friend of mine a couple months ago about how I thought there would be a graphic design Renaissance. By this I just mean, we’ve been so quickly bombarded by this phoney graphic design culture of ready-made templates, icons, shutterstock, etc. that I think people are hungry for real craft. For example, there’s this trend starting back of hand-painted signage. How beautiful! But there’s something real about the tangible and putting in real, honest work. I think people will demand it again, I hope and pray. But I was totally jazzed tonight because one of the panel members said just as I had said! Even down to the words, “graphic design Renaissance”. Oh god, there must be more of us out there. I really, really, really hope that happens in my lifetime.

These hands were made for craftsmanship, I tell you.

(to be continued, more eloquently when I am not so heavy with sleep)