When we think of the great panoply of graphic design-related content that the web offers us everyday, publications that engage critically with the issues of our time – or merely with the philosophy and process behind any design solution – are arguably nonexistent. Outside the walls of universities, where a few enlightened teachers still try to advance the kind of critical discourse that moves the profession forward, and with the exception of a few extraordinaire publishers of printed books and magazines, what we see everyday before our eyes as designers is a cultural wasteland. Even interviews to designers and design studios, more often than not are surprisingly shallow because the same meaningless questions are asked every time: “where do you find your inspiration?”, “what tools do you use?” etc.
In the slow, progressive shift from print to digital, critically engaged resources seem to have been replaced by an overabundance of “inspirational blogs”, where hundreds of projects are presented in beautiful images that can be promptly shared by the avid designer on their social network of choice. If we are in luck, perhaps a brief description of the project is rapidly copy-pasted by the curator from the designer's website. The issue with this model is quite obvious to us: when design projects are treated as mere eye candy, there is no possibility of learning something from seeing them. The internet on its own offers no time to pause and reflect, but it's the way we choose to experience content – or the possibility to do so in a better way – that matters.
If the designer's task was to invent forms, there wouldn't be anything wrong with inspirational websites. The issues arise when we remember one important thing: designers are not form inventors, they are problem solvers.
How can someone understand the process behind a solution, if they are presented with just a few images of the output? How can a designer think critically, if all they are encouraged to do is following ephemeral trends and copying elements of each other's solutions without understanding the process behind them?
We do not believe in inspiration
We believe an authentic solution is the output of a process informed by culture and thought. Design moodboards only breed shallowness. Only through insight into the design process and a critical attitude a designer can understand and learn from another designer's solution to a problem.
We do not believe that “everything goes”
History shows that advancements in the design field have always been made possible by the existence of two or several opposing ideologies battling each other. We share Enzo Mari's belief that “the utopizing tension of the origins of design must be recovered” and believe that an “everything goes” attitude is an impediment to progress. We should argue for our convinctions and engage in a constructive debate with people who see things differently – this is the only way we can advance in both our own culture and the collective conscience.
- It is our objective to highlight what makes good design, by means of curated essays and the publication of those contemporary projects that really are a brilliant, authentic solution to their problem, and doing so in a critical way that we believe will give our readers the opportunity to think better.
- It is our objective to dissect the issues of our time and to promote a design culture that is critically engaged in shaping the future.
- It is our objective to promote a critical attitude towards the present and the past as opposed to an attitude of passive acceptance of trends or to any dogmatic application of “style”.
It is our wish, ultimately, to convey the idea that good design is the product of a good process.