OWS meets V for Vendetta
Warning: dense text post ahead — read at your own risk.
When my modified Apple logo went viral, somebody on the Internet suggested to me that I should design something for the Occupy protests.
But this post is not really a response to that request. It simply reminded me of a thought I had concerning the relationship between a designer’s work and his/her intentions.
I have done my fair share of designs related to current events. They are all things I care about, and it seems logical to say that my emotional connection to the issues compelled me to represent them visually.
But it is not always that simple. Sometimes, I find my love for visual rhetoric to be almost disproportionately large, compared to my concern for the issue. Put simply, it almost seems that I care more about conveying a message effectively than the message itself.
I may be over-complicating things. Something strikes a chord with me, and I really want to express it well. What’s the big deal? The problem is that, when, let’s say, I finally come up with a clever solution, the adrenaline rush I get appears to be purely about the design itself. I cannot help but feel a bit like a phony during moments like these.
Back to Occupy Wall Street — don’t get me wrong, it certainly resonates with me. The general idea behind the movement is admirable. Resistance against social and economic inequality should be applauded, but the vast scope and variety of methods used in this movement makes it very hard to define. That leaves me without a clear stance, so does it give me the “right” to make a poster like this? Am I just designing this for design’s sake? Am I being irresponsible by making something with the potential to encourage behavior I don’t necessarily agree with?
I haven’t figured it out yet, and I am not writing all this noncommittal nonsense to cover my ass. But the relationship between a design, the intentions/motivations behind, and its potential impact is worth thinking about.
Obligatory disclaimer: I am NOT suggesting that I care more about my design itself than Steve Jobs’ death.