Incite by Design

Caustic visions and shared thoughts on design, marketing, creativity, philanthropy, pop culture and business philosophy by Toronto design firm, Ricksticks Inc.

2005-04-21

Square peg, round hole?

Okay, I’ve got a question for you. How is the role of design changing in our era?

The thing is, the spawning of the messy type aesthetic, a hot design trend, has gotten me thinking about the role of fine art and design. Historically, fine art was largely illustrative, (informing the illiterate population of current events and bible stories) or it was portraiture and propaganda commissioned by the wealthy. There are always exceptions, but this was the predominant role art played in our culture. With the twentieth century came daily newspapers, literacy and photography. Thus, the ideas of “art for arts sake” and art creating a dialogue with itself are pretty modern concepts.

In comes design. It becomes the tool of propaganda and illustration, among other things.
Clean lines and solid shapes were difficult and an acquired skill. Once the computer arrived this became easier. Thus the messy type aesthetic creates a dialogue within design. A mess is difficult to maintain with a computer, and until recently has been very undesirable.

So, has design usurped fine arts role both in its historical function and finally in it’s internal and cultural dialogue? Or are we just following the time honored tradition of doing the opposite of whatever the generation did before us? Or am I just over thinking this?
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