março 27, 2015

Pensar como um Designer

Por estes dias andei a ler How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer de Debbie Millman, um livro constituído apenas por entrevistas a um conjunto de designers altamente respeitados, nomeadamente nos EUA e Europa. O facto de Millman ser ela própria designer e uma excelente comunicadora, ajudou a criar um trabalho de enorme valor para todos aqueles que desejam entrar para a área. As entrevistas decorrem num tom de grande honestidade e frontalidade o que é de salutar e ao mesmo tempo muito relevante para o conhecimento do campo. Gostei bastante da leitura, que recomendo, essencialmente fez com que eu acabasse por tender ainda mais nas minhas preferências para a abordagem do mundo por via do design, em vez da arte.

Da leitura que fiz extraí padrões que se repetem e que dão respostas a tópicos de relevo no campo, servindo não apenas o design mas basicamente todas as áreas criativas. São seis tópicos - Ética, Processo, Escrita, Arte, Dinheiro e Educação - que passo a definir com citações directas das entrevistas apresentadas no livro.

A ética do Design
“I believe that good design is fundamentally orientated around truth, and once it loses its truth, you’ve lost it completely. The semiotics of good design imply that if we’ve redesigned a magazine or a hotel or a hospital, it is now better; that new problems have been solved; that new challenges have been addressed. In contemporary projects, we’re often not making things better, we’re just making things different: “It’s just different because we’d like you to buy more.” It’s just decoration. Design is losing its essential values because it’s being used for the wrong purposes. It’s being used to sell us stuff. It’s being used as advertising.
I was proud and happy to do fashion in the ’80s when I felt that fashion was something still being disseminated to people. But now it’s like a drug. Now it’s like an addiction. You do not need a new handbag every season. You just don’t. And they’re all rubbish. You just don’t need them.” Peter Saville

Processos de Design
“I can describe it as a computer and a slot machine. I have a pile of stuff in my brain, a pile of stuff from all the books I’ve read and all the movies I’ve seen. Every piece of artwork I’ve ever looked at. Every conversation that’s inspired me, every piece of street art I’ve seen along the way. Anything I’ve purchased, rejected, loved, hated. It’s all in there. It’s all on one side of the brain. And on the other side of the brain is a specific brief that comes from my understanding of the project and says, okay, this solution is made up of A, B, C, and D. And if you pull the handle on the slot machine, they sort of run around in a circle, and what you hope is that those three cherries line up, and the cash comes out. But mostly what you want to do is invent. And to invent, you have to take the odd and the strange combination of the years of knowledge and experience on one side of the brain, and on the other side, the necessity for the brief to make sense. And you’re drawing from that knowledge to make an analogy and to find a way to solve a problem, to find a means of moving forward—in a new way—things you’ve already done.” Paula Scher
“I’d say that there are aspects of my life I’m very content with, and yet I’ll always be consumed with an intense yearning, and I think that’s necessary—total contentment can be a dangerous thing for a creative person.” Chip Kidd

A Importância da Escrita
“The typeface doesn’t really matter, as long as the text is good. I love text. Just text itself, instead of the type. I think designers fail to remember that. They fail to remember that text is more powerful than graphics. Because text is the ultimate form of distraction. Text is going through all these weird layers of our brain to try to become understood.” John Maeda
“I’m often asked for advice on how to become a better graphic designer, and this is my response: “Two things learn how to do crossword puzzles, and learn how to write.” The former teaches you to think about language in a whole new way, and the latter forces you to use it. These are invaluable skills for any creative person." Chip Kidd
“Writing is a very important part of my work, in the proposal, e-mail, and presentation; in writing or rewriting copy; and in describing a project for a publication after it’s done.” Stegg Geissbuhler
“I think just the act of writing something down helps clarify things in your mind.” Michael Bierut
“A visual mind is interested in anything that you see, and a literary mind is interested in anything you think. A literary mind is interested in people. A visual mind is interested in things, objects, nature. This doesn’t mean that you look and don’t think. Of course, you do that, too. But a literary mind is more prone to thinking than looking visually. These type of people like to read. They like to analyze things from a psychological point of view. Writers like this write about isolation, and some write about being together. Each one investigates one action of the mind. And the mind, being as complex as it is, is an endless source of investigation.” Massimo Vignelli

Design, Arte e Pop Cult
“[I start a project] By listening as much as I can. I am convinced the solution is always in the problem. You could do a design that you like, but it doesn’t solve the problem. Design must solve a problem. Then, the design is exciting. But I find it extremely difficult. This is why I respect artists. Without a problem, I don’t exist. Artists are lucky; they can work by themselves. They don’t need a problem.” Massimo Vignelli
“I like the fact that design is audience­-related. I like the fact that it’s not “art” and that you’re typically collaborating with other people. I think the expectation is that fine artists basically work for themselves, and the audience gets whatver they can from it. I’m sure there are fine artists out there who keep the audience in mind when they work. But it’s not the accepted trajectory of the profession. Conversely, it’s very clear in design that what we do needs to be seen and understood by an audience.” Stefan Sagmeister
“Younger designers and would-be designers must understand that communication design is for others and to others. There is a great misconception in this era of graphic design that it is a medium of self-expression. Cult pop is a free-form zone of autonomous expression for the designer. There is very little or no discipline involved. there is no discipline involved. Because none of it really matters. The imagery to do with pop culture is irrelevant. There’s certainly no intellectual rigor in it (..)
Graphic design is a dangerous term now. We should really call it communications design, because graphic design doesn’t really mean anything. What is the job? The job is communications design, and that is conveying somebody else’s message to a prescribed audience. Who you are and what you think about it doesn’t necessarily come into play. The job is to articulate the message from A to B.” Peter Saville

Sobre o dinheiro
“I never had the model of financial success as being the reason to work. When I was at Push Pin, none of the partners made enough money to live on. It took ten years for us to make as much as a junior art director in an agency. We were making $65 a week! But money has never been a motivating force in my work. I am very happy to have made enough money to live as well as I do, but I never thought of money as a reason to work. For me, work was about survival. I had to work in order to have any sense of being human. If I wasn’t working or making something, I was very nervous and unstable.
I had a good friend who was a very good designer and was very indebted to the ideas of money, success, and the rewards of accomplishment. And then, like everybody, he began to fade, and he was so bitter about the fact that the world was no longer coming to him for what he had done all his life. And he became uninterested in working any more. He lost all his appetite for doing things. And I realized that the focus of his life was about the consequences of his work rather than the work itself. And I think that is a kind of sadness. Because it leaves you with nothing." Milton Glaser

10 anos para aprender uma nova linguagem
“In the very beginning of the year, I thought that I might rather be a movie director than a graphic designer. For me, this seemed like an intriguing option to pursue. Having been somewhat close to the movie industry—directing a music video for Lou Reed and having a number of friends who are in the business—I was not very naïve about doing something like this. I figured it would likely be a ten-year process until I could hope to have made something I would be happy with. I started to map out how those ten years would look: What I would do; how I would learn; which school I could go to; and how I could make it happen financially.
As intriguing as I found the process, I could not help but wonder what would happen if I went through this process—this learning of a new language and after ten years, I had nothing to say in it? Then it occurred to me that it might be smarter if I stuck with the language I already knew and tried to really say something with it. I remember writing this down in my diary, and I challenged myself to try this. And the whole series “Things I’ve Learned in My Life So Far” came out of this process.” Stefan Sagmeister

Em defesa da Educação e em Banda Larga
“I should also add that I have been ever grateful that I went to a university that required a full BA’s worth of classes, instead of an art school. A graphic designer has to function in the world. We need to know more than just typefaces and Pantone colors—indeed, that’s the least of it. I learned just as much about design by studying psychology, philosophy, English lit, geology, art history and, yes, ballroom dancing…
Without my education at Penn State—from Lanny Sommese, Bill Kinser, and others—I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere. Conversely, the two best examples of self-taught designers I know are David Carson and Chris Ware. They are proof that it’s possible, but extremely rare, and I heartily recommend a formal design education, especially including a thorough study of the history of graphic design.” Chip Kidd
“I am a big believer in education. Actually, I am an even bigger believer in a liberal arts education, which is to say that I believe an undergraduate school should provide the broadest education. College is for reading literature and studying language, etc. Art school on top of that is the best possible recipe for living a full life as a designer, because it incorporates both disciplinary breadth in the undergrad curriculum and a kind of critical depth in graduate work that each benefit from the other.” Jessica Helfand

Millman, D. (2007). How to think like a great graphic designer. Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.

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