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We remember reproductions of posters, books and products of world designers from narrative monographs and we believe that all those things had a deeper meaning, but like a bushman examining a bottle from Coca-Cola, we have no idea what.

Things and words

A few banalities first. Designers have a very interesting and comfortable life, above-standard income, creative work, young colleagues, and thanks to their profession, they meet diverse and interesting people they like to talk about. They orient themselves in trends (it is also alive), they have their own taste and style, they wear nice clothes, they like nice things, unusual experiences, parties, social events and they love brands . Designers are consumers par excellence .

At the same time, they are quite indifferent to what is going on around them (but the scandal is when they do not recycle waste or accept credit cards) and more or less do not really understand anything, but like every dentist and hairdresser, they have an opinion on anything. The school did not teach them much and they mastered everything they needed to know in a few weeks of practice. Such an idea of a designer is quite cruel and largely unfair, but honestly, who wouldn't want such a life? (Catherine Bidou or Jan Keller would say they are the adventurers of everyday life .)



I opened the note about the difficulty of talking about (graphic) design by making it impossible for the designers themselves not only to approach the limits of the world we are talking about, but also to remind them of their undeniable qualities. Designers simply do not need a critical reflection on their field; without irony and condemnation. They know very well that the basic criterion of their work (creativity) is money. Today, design is primarily a marketing tool, and the ethos with which it was once constructed by the modern and avant-garde has long since faded. OF  the only thing left to shape the future were the visual manipulations, the aesthetic canons, and the emptied language full of pure forms, modern looks, playfulness, and futuristic shapes. (What good is a future from us if it was already good ?) The current discussion about aesthetic qualities is anachronistic and unanchored. The frustration and helplessness we feel from it stems not only from our inability to formulate our own feelings and capture the essential, or from simple ignorance and inexperience, but above all from the fact that it is not important at all. It means nothing and, in fact, no one cares. (But why didn't anyone tell us?) Sporadic parties such as the annual Czech Grand Design awards, the Most Beautiful Book of the Czech Republic or the Biennial of Graphic Design in Brno are remarkable zones for those who have not yet understood it, or they are still reluctant to believe and long to shout their faith to the world (and take away the price of consolation), with those who have long known and come to the media to scrutinize their face or their acquisitions. But they have in common the idea of a designer-professional as a highly specialized expert, straddling between art and technology. Their common message is: don't try this yourself at home .

However, in a world where photographs of lollipops in panties sell better than sophisticated visuals, the question of function and aesthetic qualities is secondary and the very idea of such a professional is absurd. Nonfiction theory of visuality and design has subtly moved into the fiction genre. There is no other function than to produce cheaply and sell expensively, and there is no other aesthetic qualities than to produce cheaply and sell expensively. Everything else is a toy for those who do not accept it, but are for it  production needed.



Nevertheless, we talk, read and write about visuals and design on a daily basis. They interest us and we don't understand them. We continue to look for suitable words and we expect help from art historians and philosophers ( if Karel Císař started writing about graphic design ), absent translations of world reflection ( until 5 parts of the Looking Closer anthology are finally translated ), or we resign quite a bit ( this doesn't make sense, we still spin in wheels ). The current debate frustrates us, we are reluctant to accept that this is really all . (Take a look at the blogs on the branch, for example. Lamentations over the poor state of graphic design gradually outweighed despair over the discussion itself.) , but like a bushman examining a Coca-Cola bottle, we have no idea what. The design seems to be just a constant bending of pipes, casting funny things from glass, porcelain or preferably plastic (cost!), Straightening and scattering colors and letters on the surface. The design is really full of clean forms, modern look, playfulness and futuristic shapes . At the same time, we have seen and will see it all so many times. In computer applications, we continue to produce books that are exported to data and copied to covers and pages that look like real books, and we use fonts that look like fonts, but we're not really sure what the books are for anymore. There is nothing stopping us from attaching them to an email or simply sharing them , but we sit like scalds and invent a frontispiece. Every book today is more retro and remake than anything authentic. It is a commodity to look after.

Of course, if we remove the mask from the work, revealing the basic ideological elements can be a somewhat unpleasant experience for the designer. Especially if he's used to people slapping his back. (Michael Rock,


A2 , 2012

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