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Art Criticism

by on April 17, 2011

In the essay Quitude, FitzGerald speaks about the state of design and the lack of criticism in today’s climate.  He’s quoted as saying, “I’ve simply given up on a critical writing ever developing in the design field. If it evolves, it will be from the outside…” He claims that due to neglect design writing has lost its “intellectual rigor,” and a market for critical writing doesn’t exist. “Designers vote with their eyes and look away. And their isn’t much to look away from.” With graphic design being a visual art form, I believe we were all trained to “vote with our eyes,” but I think as designers we also view design works differently and analyze a variety of elements closely.

He goes on to say that “Anything of subtlety, depth, and breadth is ignored. Profiling a designer with some connection to celebrity and capital prevails over a think piece every time.” I agree with this quote in a since that most mainstream design seems to follow a pattern based on what’s considered safe or the only way to become a popular designer is to be backed by media or some mainstream figure. But I also feel that we should be happy that these “think pieces” are still being created. It’s very easy to fall victim to what is mass produced, but the fact that we have designers still thinking for themselves is a win in its own.

As far as written criticisms, I see it as a topic that is rarely mentioned and was intrigued but some what confused by FitzGerald’s point of view. He states that “ Design has no heritage of or belief in criticism,” and that “design education programs continue to emphasize visual articulation, not verbal or written.” This I cannot entirely agree with, because although criticism was never the main focus throughout my design education, we were always encouraged to verbally criticize works and give as much feedback as possible. Even though I don’t its completely absent from our trade, overall I think it would be interesting to see more written criticism centered around graphic design.


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