Archives for posts with tag: graphic design

Qubik Design, 2009. Glitch: Designing Imperfection. [electronic print] Available at: <> [Accessed 16th December 2011].

Christopher Murphy, Iman Moradi and Ant Scott.

Released in 2009 by Qubik studio, designed alongside Fehler, ‘Glitch: Designing Imperfection’ attempts to exploit the inherent beauty in deficiency.1

Aptly named, the book focuses on the glitches experienced in daily life throughout the digital world, celebrating the imperfections available when developing a system designed free from human error. The opening preface briefly describes the glitch as a “spurge of electronic current”, here responsible for over 200 prints.

Glitch begins with an introduction via question and answer sessions with Kim Cascone, O.K Parking and Angela Lorenz among others to reveal the artists intentions, experiences and opinions regarding glitches as a visual artform before providing stunning contributions including those from Cory Arcangel, David Lu, Karl Klomp and Marius Watz.

The work itself includes captured images of scrambled tv signals, html errors, system crashes and other digital convulsions. Whether accidental or provoked these glitches provide pleasing aesthetic outcomes to those willing accept them as visual art. Murphy, Moradi and Scott have successfully converted the screen based glitch to print, and by utilising a variety of arrangements retain interest, from full page prints to thumbnails for comparison.

Some will not find admiration within the abstract digital prints, failing to appreciate them as art forms and will not want to commend the efforts of artists to capture or create them. Irregardless of ones standpoint on the technological glitch as art, it remains of interest that an accidental malfunction can be manipulated by the human intention to create it.

Anon, 2009. Images from Glitch: Designing Imperfection. [electronic prints] Available at: <; [Accessed 17th December 2011].


1. Qubik, 2009. Glitch: Designing Imperfection. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 17th December 2011].

Throughout my research for the MA assignment I begun to consider the definition of graphic design. The Oxford English Dictionary describes graphic design as;

The art or skill of combining text and pictures in advertisements, magazines, or books.1

– Oxford English Dictionary

Graphic design is a form of visual communication, its realm and scope succinctly explained within the following short film by Jessica Helfand and William Drenttel.

Graphic design is the most ubiquitous of all the arts.

– Jessica Helfand

Helfand, J. and Drenttel, W., n.d. Graphic Design Is. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 9th December 2011].

As explained within the AIGA guide, “What is Graphic Design” the graphic designer organises the three elements; typography, image and ‘white’ space to communicate the intended message.2

However, with the increasing availability of ‘design’ software, it brings to question the importance and place of the graphic designer, leading to the current topic of debate; the DIY Designer.

Eva., 2006. Ellen Lupton: Design It Yourself. [electronic print] Available at: <; [Accessed 9th December 2011].

Many graphic designers feared the introduction Desktop Publishing would destroy the profession of graphic design. There are two opposing viewpoints in the DIY Debate, those cherishing it, claiming it removes the elitism from the discipline and making it accessible meanwhile others feel that DIY design has “saturated the market with ineffective and misguided design produced by people with little or no education in graphic design”.3

Advocates for the DIY Movement include Ellen Lupton. Within an article for the AIGA she opposes Steven Heller to outline the benefits of DIY Design and the possibilities it brings.4 I agree with her statement that the launch of desktop publishing has left everyone with a better understanding of graphic design, and therefore appreciation for the complexity of some of the work we produce.

Desktop publishing didn’t wipe out graphic design; in fact, the field got bigger, in part because the general public had gained a better understanding of design by working with tools similar to those we were using. People became more educated about design by playing around (and working) with fonts and computers.5

However I can also see the truth in Heller’s opposing argument, that by unleashing the ability to create ‘design’ to all we risk losing our professional status and therefore our credibility.

. . . I recoil when I think of mediocre designers “doing it themselves.” People should not think they are Designers because they can fiddle with type on a computer template. If people start thinking that graphic design is as easy as One, Two, Three, it will diminish designers’ authority and clients’ respect.6

Already with the wide availability of software to the general public I have noticed a change. Where before it would be necessary to see a project to print, clients are asking for the working files to ‘tweak’ things themselves. Now this leaves an awkward situation for the designer. I am a perfectionist, and the thought of handing over the working files to an amateur fills me with fear! What are they going to do to it? And will they still put my name on it afterwards; do I want to be associated with whatever they have created after it has left my hands? Owning a copy of Adobe does not make you a designer, anymore than owning a plane makes you a pilot.

And its true, since the launch of Desktop Publishing, there has been an vast increase poor design largely distributed. But pre-recession, it could have been argued that by giving unfulfilling tasks to an under-skilled amateur simply allowed better designers freedom to work on better projects. However, now jobs are tight, and highly skilled design graduates are fighting for places designing in chain print shops I believe it is time for DIY Design to stop and the economy relating to our fragile discipline boosted.

1. Oxford Dictionary, 2011. Oxford English Dictionary. London: Oxford University Press.

2. Poggenpohl, S. H., 1993. What is Graphic Design. AIGA [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 9th December 2011].

3. Anon, n.d. The Macintosh Computer. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 9th December 2011].

4. Lupton, E., 2006. The D.I.Y. Debate. AIGA [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 9th December 2011].

5. Lupton, E., 2006. The D.I.Y. Debate. AIGA [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 9th December 2011].

6. Heller, S., cited in Lupton, E., 2006. The D.I.Y. Debate. AIGA [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 9th December 2011].

I also begun to consider the formation of the final piece. Should the area surrounding the message be of the same form? Or should it take on a slightly different format? I investigated how other current designers were using geometric patterns to occupy areas.

Fetisova, M., 2008. 03. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 6th December 2011].

The above Maria Fetisova pieces were interesting for development. I made several attempts at forming overlapping pieces such as (a) and (b) however these seemed to lose the strict geometric nature which I was aiming for. I enjoy the variation used in (c), and the seemingly random placement of the components. Within my final piece I wish the size of the components to appear random in this manner, I had considered using a random number generator for the lengths to ensure they were completely random, however this became increasingly difficult to integrate and I chose instead to draw as randomly as humanly possible.

Looking at the Maria Fetisova pieces, which are certainly aesthetically pleasing, I can’t help but to question if the increasing use of available software packages isn’t leading us to an inevitable design block. Where the software encourages a style of design, at what point do we need to break completely from this? I shall investigate the use of available software in a later post. [now available – Digital Technique]