VA: Week 4 Readings

Graphic Authorship

I'll admit that this article was extremely difficult for me to comprehend, but from what I did understand, I don't agree with Michael Rock.

How do you feel about his alternative models for design: designer as translator, performer, and director?

Designer as Producer

We live in a time where we can easily communicate and find resources that enable us to create projects. Our motivations are different from larger companies who determine whether they'll make things based on how they can profit from it.

We've gone back to this sort of structure where people have to fend for themselves in a sense. We have to make our own tools, tools that will tailor to us. I wonder if that's why DIY culture has become so popular in recent years?

Do you think this rise in DIY culture is somehow related to the inability of larger companies to meet unique needs like designers?

Design With Intent (Debate)

Jessie and I have been asked to argue against this statement: "acting in a partisan manner through research or other design process discourages free thought and unfairly influences the minds of the audience members."

on this topic, here are some arguments we have found:

• it is our right and responsibility as designers and researchers to use the skills we have developed and the time we have spent learning about a given topic to present it in the most ethical and most useful way. other people don't have the time to sort through tons of neutrality and determine the best solution, but not only do we have that time, but we have been trained to identify that best solution. there's no shame in us rising to the call to action to do our job, and well.

• as they discuss in the section on catalyst design, we can use our position as designers to frame an issue and get a conversation started. it may well be beyond our power to direct people specifically, or influence their minds in a particular way, but we can give them a jumping off point to discuss.

• as our educations have (hopefully) prepared us to do, we should have a pretty strong sense of cultural literacy and critical thinking. having a transparently visible stance in a work can be much more useful in discourse than attempting to be neutral, because the well-defined stance gives people something to reject and craft an argument against, or hone in around, if they agree.

• given that it is impossible to be truly neutral, it's safer and better to have a well-reasoned and well-designed position than to deny your opinions and try to pass off something that, as neutrally as you may have attempted to make it, will definitely contain biases in your prioritization. it is much more insidious to allow people to internalize your priorities without realizing it.

• if your free thought can't withstand a touch of dialectic, maybe it wasn't all that much free thought in the first place? strong thinking can only get stronger and more reasoned when confronted with other people's opinions. anything that collapses the first time it encounters another thought is probably pretty arbitrary and not well considered.

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