Annotated Bibliography

Citizen Design – Perspectives on design responsibility – Heller & Vienne

It is clear after reading this book that as Designers we have a great responsibility to the social arena. the opening sentence summarises this, “Milton Glaser often says, “Good design is good citizenship.”” Heller [2006:ix] As we look at design we have to appreciate that our actions have reactions and the design we create really influences the world in which we are working, “A designer must be professionally, culturally, and socially responsible for the impact his or her design has on the citizenry.” Heller [2006:x] This book explores the consequences Designers have in the world around them, and encourages us as Designers to change the world around us, politically and socially, helping to add to society and influence it in a positive way, “Let us instead give designers their voices so they may participate and contribute more fully in the world around them” McCoy [2006:8]

Grid Systems – A visual communication manual for graphic designers, typographers and three dimensional designers – Muller-Brockmann

This was an interesting find, this is a book about grids and layout plans. After reading the chapter on Grid and Design Philosophy i was intrigued at how, even from the aspect of Grids and mathematical design, that a Designers work can so heavily influence society and be apart of it. “This is the expression of a professional ethos: the designers work should have the clearly intelligible , objective, functional and aesthetic quality of mathematical thinking. His work should thus be a contribution to general culture and itself form part of it. Constructive design which is capable of analysis and reproduction can influence and enhance the taste of society and the way it conceives forms and colours” Muller-Brockmann [1981:10] This summary of the designers impact upon society is very insightful to me and helped me down the path towards my dissertation subject. Ultimately it is a very interesting observation upon social culture and the culture in which designers work, “Ever visual creative work is a manifestation of the character of the designer. It is a reflection of his knowledge, his ability, and his mentality.” [1981:10]

An Introduction to Design & Culture in the Twentieth Centuary – Chapter 7 From Mass Taste to Mass Style  – Penny Sparke

When reading chapter 7 in this book it is clear that design has its roots in consumerism and mass culture. This stemming from the aspirations that the public had towards the aristocracy following the Art Deco period in the 20’s. “In his statement of 1953 Paul Reilly (q.v.), soon to become the director of the British Design Council, was expressing a heartfelt belief that taste values move automatically down through society”  Sparke [1986:108] The items that were once exclusive for the elite in the Deco period, thanks to mass-production were now being made available for everyone. Design and fashion were now open to the designers, having the influence to change the fashionable tastes of the day. “The increasing importance of fashion to design means that all new trends, whether they emerge at street level or in the designers studio, are open to commercial manipulation. While many subcultural groups now create their own styles, they are almost always appropriated by commerce and mass production and are thus rendered fashionable.” [1986:121]

Graphic Design History – A History of design, a history of concerns – Heller & Ballance

This chapter isn’t as informed towards my subject matter, but it does discuss an interesting subject matter, of how it is important to recognise the importance of culture and society within design. “I would hope that today, instead of trying to keep on inventing style superheroes in design shows, it would be refreshing to pay attention to social and cultural relevance, to the effectiveness of design solutions, and to the contributions that design makes to its highest possible function: supporting and fostering the welfare of people.” Frascara [2001:18]

Bauhaus 1919-1933, Dtroste, M, Bauhaus-Archiv Museum Fur Gestaltung Berlin, 1998

The Bauhaus movement was a culmination of different beliefs and ways of thinking, that of Architecture and Arts and Crafts, both exciting movements that were struggling on their own, and stuck in the 19th century, it was Walter Gropius who was a major player at the beginning of the Bauhaus movement, who engineered the two movements together. “while still a soldier at the front , Gropius formulated his ‘Pro-posals for the establishment of and educational institution to provide artistic advisory services to the industry, trade and craft’, which he sent to the Grand-Ducal Saxon Ministry of State in January 1916. In line with the ideas of the Werkbund, Gropius called for close cooperation between the industrialist and engineer on the one hand the artist on the other; at the same time, however, he now cited the ideal of the medieval stonemasons’ lodge where craftsmen worked in ‘the same spirit’, in the oneness of a common ideal’. Droste, M [1998:16]

Illuminations – Benjamin, W – 1973 Fontana Press London

This essay is a detailed look at the progression of Art through technology. Benjamin looks at the process of portraits and paintings, looking how, though the evolution of the Photograph portraits and pictures have changed, ultimately focusing on Film and Cinema. It is an interesting argument that explores the different factors affecting the creative arts at the turn of the century. Ultimately he predicts that technology will play an even greater role in the arts as time progresses. “for the first time in world history, mechanical reproduction emancipates the work of art from it’s particular dependence on ritual. To an ever greater degree the of art reproduced becomes the work of art design for reproducibility” Benjamin, w [Illuminations,218] His observations on mass production are, in particular, very interesting as he discusses how art can be reproduced on mass, and that piece of arts status as a reproduction in it’s environment. I am interested in this essay because of some of the conclusions that Benjamin comes too in his work through exploring mass production and it’s role with art.

Design and the Public Good – Chermayeff, S – 1982 The MIT press Cambridge Massachusetts

Very interesting observations on architecture in more detail though, Chermayeff explores the role of the designer in the 20th century and where we stand, looking from the perspective of industrialization and mass production. It’s main focus is on our responsibility and effect on society. “The contemporary society with industrial means of production has to employ entirely new tools, instruments, for living consonant with our needs, spiritual, intellectual and materia. The needs of an industrial society are in many respects without precedent and certainly the means at our disposal with which to meet the needs have been extended and enriched immeasurably.” Chermayeff, S [1980:246] He makes interesting conclusions of industry and it’s effect on design.

Clean new world, Lavin, M, 2001, MIT Press Cambridge, Massachusetts

This book is politically, socially and graphically challenging. It follows the trends and movements within Design that have had a major impact on society and the people with in society and graphic design. I am particularly interested in how graphic designs can have an impact on society, this book clearly covers that statement and shows that designers do have a voice. Lavin describes this herself “I aim to stir discussion, talk that does not merely react to the state of design as it is commonly practiced but instead is generative: encouraging designers to recognize and deal creatively with the power they do, in fact, have.” [2001:6] She goes to describe the work of designers in the 20th century who have had such an impact, and also describes the binding factor of working for a commercial company, and the restraints they place upon a designer, silencing the messages we want to send into society.

One Response to “Annotated Bibliography”

  1. designdissertation2010 September 28, 2010 at 2:50 pm #

    Good start to your annotated bibliography, try and do a short piece of writing about each source of information you stumble across…

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