Source Collection The Written Keystones
“The Arts and Crafts of Today” is a lecture by William Morris delivered in October 1889 in Edinburgh and printed as part of a 5-volume set at the Chiswick Press, with the Golden type designed by Morris. As Walter Crane wrote of Morris’s far-reaching aesthetic philosophy, “if it has not turned all British craftsmen into artists or all British artists into craftsmen, it has done not little to expand and socialize the idea of art”.
Walter Gropius made himself a director of the newly created school for art and design, as well as the leader of the newborn movement. Immediately, he proceeded to write some sort of rules and regulations for the uprising organization. He printed it on four pages, and there it was – the Bauhaus Manifesto.
Eric Gill begins his book on typography with a chapter entitled Time and Place. This text is more about culture in general than typography. Gill compares Industrialism to traditional crafts, noting the two are completely different and that one is largely bereft of humanity whilst the other embodies it.
In the preface to his 1966 classic Design as Art — one of the most important and influential design books ever published — legendary Italian graphic designer Bruno Munari, once described by Picasso as “the new Leonardo,” makes a passionate case for democratizing art and making design the lubricant between romanticism and pragmatism.
The First Things First manifesto was written 29 November 1963 and published in 1964 by Ken Garland. It was backed by over 400 graphic designers and artists and also received the backing of Tony Benn, radical left-wing MP and activist, who published it in its entirety in The Guardian newspaper.
Pierre Bernard, co-founder of Grapus and Atelier de Création Graphique, delivered the lecture The Social Role of the Graphic Designer in Minneapolis in 1991. It was reprinted in Essays on Design I: AGI’s Designers of Influence, London 1997.
In his letterc to the editor entitled There is such a thing as society (Eye magazine 14, Autumn 1994), Andrew Howard writes it is time to think again about design’s social function and the way it is determined by our culture.
The Designer as Producer, an essay by Ellen Lupton, was published in The Education of a Graphic Designer (New York: Allworth Press, 1998), and reprinted in Graphic Design: Now in Production (Minneapolis: Walker Art Center, 2012). The text explores the idea of abandoning the idea of the designer as an author and moving towards the idea of the designer as a producer.
In 2006 Daniel van der Velden wrote Research and Destroy for METROPOLIS M magazine, in which he argued against the idea of designers as ‘the proletariat of the creative industry, silently executing what their clients dictate’. Two years later he and Vinca Kruk published as Metahaven the pamphlet ‘White Night Before A Manifesto’ (image) which continues to discusses contemporary conditions of design practice, and some of their political consequences.
“How to cultivate the view so as to make it open, critical and citizen (…)?” Thus wondered graphic designer Vincent Perrottet in 2013 in his text Partager le regard, which widely relayed on the net.