Monday, 23 March 2009

The Curve

1. Design now is much more than just a visual game of composition, typography and image. Now it speaks with the way it was done. A designer must have FAITH in the way his work has been produced, in the way it is distributed, that it's good values are going further beyond it's look. That it speaks to people's mind on all the levels. It considers things like: Ethics, Sustainability, Environmental Issues...
2. PASSION. Design without passion, is just a print, or web development. But that is nothing, try living with no passion and you will experience hell on earth!
3. TRUST. Trust little moments of uncertainty.
4. PROCESS. Sometimes concentrating on a process of making things, making mistakes, getting frustrated, teaches us more than a pile of success on our desks! After all it is all about maturing and defying, so the process should be as much important as the outcome of a job. Try to say to yourself: it might have been a nightmare but... I learnt this and that!
5. EXPERIMENT the moment we get to a routine of working in a certain way, it's quality goes down. Yes we can master craft, but if our work starts and finishes at the same point each day... it is no good. Essentially experiment is about keeping us awake!
6. FUN  The moment you are stopping to feel  fun once working, STOP!
7. OBSERVE! Make it your duty to observe and note things! That creates projects!
And projects are creating you!
8. BE PERSITANT Just do it!
9. LOVE LIFE! If you are a frustrated human being, you can't experience life, without experiencing life, you surely cannot understand people, without that you cannot be a good designer!
10. SMILE.

Friday, 13 March 2009

sAD or glAD

Advertising... I am not so keen on it. I find that the process of creating an ad strips away all the creativity from it. There are roles very specified, designer does their job on newest Mac and the creatives do the thinking bit, artworkers prepare things for print, talking to the client happens mainly via accountants. All that speeds the process up, and in a way there is less mistakes happening, as everybody does simply what they were trained for. It seems perfect like a well designed machine. It is well paid and trendy.

I don't like it, as I like the mistakes bit in work. Going back and forth choosing options and discovering. I feel that when I am working on an email creation for a well known bank I am just sitting and yawning. It doesn't do it for me.

And what's more it is judged by research. If people buy, the ad works if they don't it sucks. It doesn't say anything about the quality of the typography, graphic composition, idea (if any), illustration, and so on. Though it happen to be most often strongly remembered part of our day. Ad in the tube, commercial on TV.

What is a key to produce a good ad? It is a good client. A client who likes risk and design is not a secondary option for him, he doesn't behave as if he knew better. Famous for that is CocaCola, Sony, Honda, the Economist...
In the hands of a good client is a fate of the ad. Will it be glAD or will it be sAD?

Thursday, 12 March 2009


A fresh cucumber comes home wrapped in cling film. I cannot recycle it, so transparent veil goes to the bin as soon as the cucumber riches the fridge. I am starting to feel that I had some sort of Massive Good Luck Time in my entire life before this poor cucumber packaging, because I WAS EATING CUCUMBER WHICH HAS NEVER SEEN PLASTIC VEIL. And I am still alive.
Every time I think about packaging issues I am thinking about my obvious luck in life and have the whole cucumber in my head. Packaging, cucumbers and packaging... Why my apples come in a bag? So do carrots and all sort of fresh food doesn't look fresh anymore is washed five times and looks plastic. I don't understand the purpose of protecting me from some mysterious disease, which somehow didn't attack in communist Poland once I was little. But with capitalism there we are and suffocated cucumbers are in my homeland as well.
Enough about cucumbers, the point is there is no point.
Now I look at my CD ART Innovation in CD Packaging Design by Charlotte Rivers book, and I suddenly understand everything about packaging. That it needs to be there, to protect CD, that it is necessary to show the details about the musicians, sell the product, and so on. I understand, because after coming from a shop - my CD packaging of that kind will stay on the shelf exposed and won't be thrown away. What is the difference between a plastic veil for a veggie and an innovative CD packaging. Well first is ugly, the other can be stunning, first comes from a corporate easiness of fast selling, second from crafting. First could do without packaging at all, second needs it for protection and information. First is thrown away, second stays.

Cucumber from Sainsbury

Samples of CD covers from Airside Agency
So what is the role of packaging?
1. Protection
2. Recycling/Re-usability. If it is not easy recyclable it should be easy to keep. Which is true for packaging like Cd's which need protection all the time.
3. Engagement. I truly believe that packaging should be fun. Fun to pack and unpack. Creating an enjoyable moment of something small and engaging within my day. Yes, if it is nice, strong and practical - I will keep it and pass it on to my grand children. If it is unnecessary, ugly, avoidable I will throw it away. And what I expect as a designer-a consumer on one end - getting my vegetables from a grocery is to meet a packaging designer via my shopping and either keep all of the their work forever or have none to throw away.

Some Steaks are Growing on Farms

Well I am thinking what does ethic mean for me? It is a strong word with lots of connotations. As I am very into my own world being socially and ethically responsible becomes not just an issue about doing something good to the outside world but also not letting the outside world to invade you as a designer. I think ethical issues should go as much out there as they go in...
There is something absolutely fascinating about a personality facing the real creative world which can be very ruthless. The ethic stretches then, to conveying the world without being conveyed yourself. It is all about honesty between you and the work you are producing. I guess that this is a part of ethical problem which I find most interesting. Being socially responsible means also keeping yourself healthy. That in turn means working for projects which you believe in and also for people who you like. A question after the work is produced: did you really enjoyed it? Would you love to do this again? Was it in agreement with what you think is important in life. Social responsibility doesn't necessarily means to save trees and as now very trendy saving the planet. All those important issues for me should be a continuation of a designers personality in his work not an artificially imposed trend, lost by first wind of change! Well, I think that a designer as any other person should be first of all a responsible human being and have system of values important to cultivate in creative and every day life activities. Well known designers are a samples of that kind of ethic built because of who they are as humans

The Small Stakes Poster, 2009

Future Farmers Homeland Security Blanket, 2002.

The Small Stakes for example focused on the music scene and worked producing posters from 2003, gaining both experience and prestige for their work, now known world wide. The Future Farmers on the other hand have written in their studio ethics non profit projects, caring about environmental issues, and so on. I guess I am for both.
A conscientious designer doesn't have to save the world but love it in one or another way. AMEN.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Design the Ethic

Ideally, CSR policy would function as a built-in, self-regulating mechanism whereby business would monitor and ensure their adherence to law, ethical standards, and international norms. Business would embrace responsibility for the impact of their activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities, stakeholders and all other members of the public sphere. Furthermore, business would proactively promote the public interest by encouraging community growth and development, and voluntarily eliminating practices that harm the public sphere, regardless of legality. Essentially, CSR is the deliberate inclusion of public interest into corporate decision-making, and the honoring of a triple bottom line: People, Planet, Profit.

It is a fairly new idea and after WIKIPEDIA again, it was created as there is 'a demand for more ethical business'.


1. PRIMARK CASE shows how easy is to break human rights outside the Western World. Article is from 22nd of June 2008, which shows a view from only couple of months ago. It also shows how profitable that is. Being one of the biggest retailers of British streets it brings in all the problems and concerns in the CSR issues.

· One in six children in the world today is involved in child labour, doing work that is damaging to his or her mental, physical and emotional development.
· Globally, between 210 and 240 million children are child labourers.
· 126 million of these children are engaged in hazardous work.
· Every year 22,000 children die in work-related accidents.
· 73 million working children are under 10.
· Sub-Saharan Africa has the largest proportion of working children - nearly one-third of children aged 14 and under.
· 5.7 million children are forced into debt bondage or other forms of slavery.
· 70 per cent work in agriculture, fishing or forestry, 8 per cent in factories, wholesale and retail trade, restaurants and hotels.


You may argue that there is a conflict between the business itself and being ethical. Really? Body Shop was founded by human rights activist - Dame Anita Roddick in 1978. It's success is proven all over the world and also shows that there are ways of making ethic work for you. Body Shop website covers it in more detail, having the whole ethos of the company written in their selling culture.

I am not a fan of making ethic being a selling point. I belive that this should be a norm not an USP. From a consumer's point of view though, I can tell that I don't necessarily want to trace every single product which I buy to make sure that the producent/importer and so on are dealing with the human rights on a civilized level. This article about making human rights mandatory is very interesting. I strongly feel that Ethical Business should get as much support from governments and international business institutions as possible.