Too Much of a Good Thing is a Bad Thing [449 words]

The increasingly high volume of diverse formal experimentation in design practice disrupts the viewers’ ability to absorb and interpret produced works. Before we can process one thing the next comes along. How can we as viewers place significance on anything if design experimentation has become so ephemeral. The overbearing accumulation of diverse graphics makes it impossible to focus on a singular thing for a substantial amount of time. Relativism prevails to its extreme. Everything is equally right. The act of critical analysis of the visual information designers face becomes impossible. The realm of design practice has become diluted with bits of every type of visual exploration mixed together. How often are we witness to other designers if not ourselves listlessly fixated on the glowing computer screen, monotonously scrolling through absurd amounts of blog posts, merely glancing over the visual content. Such highly concentrated amounts of visual data intake desensitize designers’ ability to value experimentally progressive work as something theoretically meaningful rather than simply “cool.”

It is the user that instills meaning into the object, which ultimately in combination with other factors becomes a cultural signifier. The object itself is a vessel, which until acknowledged, analyzed and criticized stands empty outside the cultural sphere. This process of fusing meaning with the object fails to happen with most of contemporary formally experimental work that simply dies once it’s initial shock presence wears off. We as users and foremost as designers let this happen with our negligently short attention span and self-indulgent thirst for more variety.

Propagation of modernism in its original form ascribed by Ezra Pound’s buoyant slogan “Make it new!” ceased to be a possibility in the current state of design practice. Today creating something new is no longer valued as original. It’s seen as just another eccentric work tossed aside instantly, quickly followed by “the next thing.” We have reached a paradoxical point in design practice where “Newness” is no longer new.

Contemporary design practice has become notably disconnected. Everyone works in a vacuum. All the produced graphics exist independent of each other. It is as if everyone agreed to disagree and retired into the safety of their space not to be bothered. Criticism is not welcome, not that anyone offers it anymore. Today there is more design experimentation than ever. The problem is that all this experimentation is done in vain. It is all very shortsighted. There is no unified thinking present behind it all, everyone is merely trying to top one another in the formal outlandishness of their work. Whereas it should be a civil conversation instead it is a shouting match. With this kind of logic, global movements in design are no longer a possibility.

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