A commenter writes:
I completely agree with your statement. Designers these days have gem cutters, stone setters, casters, waxers, and everything else you can imagine. However, to compete in a larger global economy, there is only so much that one person can do.
The trick, I suppose, is to choose one’s battles. Is it really a virtue in its own right to compete on a global scale, or are you happier to let the things you create speak for you?
I am not a master of my craft — which is newspaper design — by any means. I am self-taught, and my eye for design is at best a little erratic. But I do realise something: that even the best of my work is ephemeral. My design masterstroke, my amazing piece of voodoo, making the balance of the page just right, is going to be someone’s fish wrapper 24 hours after press time.
Which, I suppose, is why I’ve become sensitised to the increasing levels of disposability in our society.
It’s not a flattering picture.
My cellphone — sadly a necessity — is designed to be obsolete after a year at most. In fact it has become subject to a sort of machine entropy, where i just doesn’t work right sometimes. Yes, I can just go out and buy a new one, and I suppose eventually I’ll have to, but the thought sticks in my craw. The new-for-new’s-sake, the feature-bloat, the latest-fashion bull has over-ridden my rather simple desire: a cellphone which doesn’t suck.
It goes on: computers, tools, household fixtures (why do I have a fibreglass bathtub? I want an iron one, dammit, but I can’t buy one for love nor money!), furniture (what an heirloom that Ikea Billy shelf will make …), cars, and so forth.
And we’re buying it. We’re buying crap, knowing it, and loving it. We’re totally buying into a society that will simply FORGET where it came from, and how it got there.
I would rather not be ‘competitive’ in return for being able to look myself in the eye in the mornings.