Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Masters in branding? Really? I suppose...

Funnily enough I don't really read design blogs. I tried to get into it but I really didn't click with any of them. In fact I'd go further and say they were starting to put me off the idea of ever talking/writing about graphic design ever again. Then yesterday Max sent me a link to an article Rick Poyner has just put on Design Observer... and it was a really interesting piece. Rick talks about graphic design and graphic design history especially, struggling to look like a real academic discipline, and about how the relatively new field of Visual Culture might offer a way forward. Normally I'd be sticking my fingers down my throat at this sort of talk, but I read the whole thing and read it slowly and actually I think Rick has a point. Perhaps more than a point, maybe more of a sort of completely new frame for thinking about graphic design... actually the more I've thought about it, the more I think what Rick's describing is what Dot Dot Dot was actually doing, and maybe then why that publication got such a kind of cult following? I don't know, maybe I need to read it again. Rick's piece I mean.

Anyway so I started thinking, 'hey I really should look at these blogs more often'... and then Max, ever vigilant, sent me another link today. This time to a kind of 'review' of the new (although it's really just 'modified') Starbucks logo on the Under Consideration blog. See it here. This piece by Armin Vit reminds me why I stopped reading about graphic design. Apart from the fact that I despise branding and campaigns like this, Armin simply has nothing interesting to say about it here. It sort of confirms my feeling that there's never very much interesting to say about branding campaigns anyway? It's all generally so bleedingly self-evident that the best idea might be to say nothing?

And then this — the real catalyst for my wanting to post this here today...

A Masters in branding at the SVA in New York. Wow I bet this is going to be a real popular course (that sounds sarcastic but it's not, I'm sure it will be well enrolled). Who's teaching on it I wonder? Steven Heller? Michael Beirut? Graphic design is going nowhere new while these guys are still around. I should do my research before I start these rants, but I'm pretty sure I'm writing to myself here anyway? Aren't I? Anyway, a Masters in branding? Seriously? So we have Rick Poyner making a pretty convincing case around the academic flimsyness of graphic design as a discipline, and yet here we have branding being articulated and thereby kind of embodied as such. Can you imagine the kind of conversations that go on around this? Ok I'm in a rush and I'm not being articulate enough myself here... but I will come back to this I promise. But for now I'm just going to be childish (maybe it's more 'teenage') and stick my fingers down my throat.

I'm really just killing time, waiting for the rain to pass so I can jump on my bike and ride up to Kaikoura where I'm meeting Malcolm. We're leaving for a tour of the South Island this Saturday. Hope the weather can get it's shit together? It's been non-stop sun for about three months and then the day I plan to head off on the bike, R A I N . . . maybe it's karma for my being such an asshole to Steven Heller and Michael Beirut just then?

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