Preview of the Lost Art of Design
As an owner of a design firm and web development company, I have recently been awakened by an alarming trend that I can no longer ignore in regards to art of design. My humble beginnings sprouted up through the trenches of advertising by starting my career as a mechanical artist. Ah, the days of hot melted wax and drafting boards are still fresh in my mind, all be it not as nimble as it used to be. Well, that was a long 20 odd years ago, yet as I fondly recall those days of yore, I can’t help but remember the golden rule of achieving perfection.
Yes, back in the “old days” we had only one drumbeat to follow: perfecting our craft. Whether you were a grunt in the pit and pasting up mechanicals, or you were in the lofty tower as a Creative Director, the goal was to create a masterpiece of personal triumph. The type had to be perfectly spaced, the copy must be eloquent and thought-provoking and the design was king. Stop the consumer with simplicity and brilliance, but master the art of persuasion with deft skills.
Well, fast forward those same 20 years and yes it’s a different landscape altogether. For the most part, the journey has been one of discovery, of refinement in the art form know as advertising, of design, of relentlessly crafted words and conceptual epiphany. All of this tortuously culminating in the ever-popular utopia of “social marketing”?
How can this be? I understand the ubiquitous charm of social marketing as the final frontier of finally communicating with the consumer one to one, mano a mano. But I have to ask myself, and everyone else willing to intake these humble words, is this really it?
I am stunned, confused and any other such adjective you care to throw into this sentence. Have we really traveled and toiled all this way to arrive at a destination where YouTube, MySpace, Facebook Twitter and LinkedIn are considered the epitome of excellence in the realm of communication platforms? Surely a mere everyday mortal cannot achieve “God” status by shooting a group of friends in rapture at a sporting event and turn the heads of a nation, let alone the world.
Oh but I’m afraid it may be true. Yes, gone are the days of sophistication in terms of art, design and concept. Here are the days of instant gratification, self-expression and world-wide fame. Where has the art form been vanquished to and will it ever return again to shine upon the hills? I fear not, but hope that I am, once again, incorrect.
Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s fantastic that we can now, as never before, reach an audience of millions in moments. But what of the magic that has made Hollywood glimmer for so many years? Has everything from newspapers, TV, radio, outdoor, phone books and publications become so diluted that there is no longer any equity in these mediums? Did they sink themselves out of pure competitive overload? I have to say that even if this is the case, should quality be thrown overboard along with them? This is the root of the root for me.
I am just as entertained by social media as the next Internet addict, but where is the art of design? When I state design, I am not just saying pure design of graphics, I am describing all, that goes into a video, a web site, a Twitter page. It’s a fusion of message, design elements, but most of all, meaning. That is the heart and soul of a communication in any form. Is there is no overriding meaning and interaction between writers, artists and designers? If not, what was the journey for? It is, at its purest form, a collaborative effort, not one of self-indulgence and vacuum conceptualism.
So, I leave you with these words and ask for your feedback. Are you offended by advertising, by communications to you as a consumer, an individual? Are you tired of being interrupted by messages of creative excellence? Even if it’s done at the hands of others that have no love for true art flowing through their hearts, their fingers or minds? I still yearn for excellence, craft and love of pure brilliance no matter where it may choose to express itself.