inform the other in some what, direct or indirect? Can you build on or redirect the “message” implied in the composition through the introduction of a text? The left-hand panel will contain the original line art composition with the classiﬁed text placed within the compositional space exactly as it appears in the ad. You may enlarge or reduce the text block with respect to the image space, but all bolds, italics, misspelled words, etc. must appear as they appear in the original text.
. 11/! including allowances .00 12+ 34 Q H H G H G F D O O U H V X P H a d 3 0 F x m 3 D y\ r 1 C ) s ( M e a u n t 9 p The right -hand panel will contain text only, and will be evidence of your effort to, in some way, recontextualize the message in the classiﬁed to which you are responding. You will achieve this by essentially deconstruction the text into it’s component parts or phonemes and reconstructing them in the page using scale, weight, and position to craft a new message which is sympathetic to both your interpretation of the text and your “reading” if the original 10x10 line art composition. Reading the Sign and Text Image (continued)
uding allowances) L Q F O X G L Q J Dept. 5, G L S O R P R D U H O R F D W H Must pay days 8 - 0 8 9 - AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL No exp. needed. HS diploma, age 17-34. Starting pay $34-$36k, (including allowances), medical/ dental, college tuition, 30 days o /yr. Must relocate. Call Mon-Fri 800-284-6289 or Fax resume to Dept 5, 615-8315468
letters somewhere in the environment: Think about how and where you place your word. Is it public or private? Who is your audience? How do you want them to feel or think when they encounter the word? Consider CONTEXT; Also consider the physical properties of the letterforms; spacing, orientation, and alignment.
rewards, food, or even animals there can be a good or bad effect. I hope to convey the idea of collecting animals for viewing as something negative. We go to the zoo to educate ourselves about species other than ourselves, but are those species being reaped really happy? I hope viewers will stop and wonder about how we treat our animal friends when they see the word reap working with the chimps. I placed the word in a way which the eye would be led to the chimp that is leaving. I also took the photo so the word would show the same perspective as the background chimpanzees. I chose to have multiple animals in the photo to show the act of collecting.
multi-column grid (based on the spread) – applied consistently to all 4 pages – creating formal cohesion while allowing for variety, contrast, and rhythm. You will consider the relationship of type size (between 9 and 12 point) and leading; the relationship of column size to page size; the relationship of “activated” space (type/image/column) to void; the relationship between gutters, exterior margins, and column interval. You’ll be asked to consider hierarchy of content (headline, bi-line, primary and secondary content, type and image). Columnar Grid
building of the Getty Center in Los Angeles, architect Richard Meier is beset on all sides by critics and carpers: homeowners who don’t want the Center’s white buildings ruining their views, museum administrators who worry that the severe stone benches will be uncomfortable, curators who want traditional molding on the gallery walls. The magisterial Meier takes them all in stride, until one moment that is the hold-your-breath climax of the ﬁlm. Michael Bierut On (Design) Bullshit Columnar Grid (continued) The client, against Meier’s advice, has brought in artist Robert Irwin to create the Center’s central garden. The ﬁlmmakers are there to record the unveiling of Irwin’s proposal, and Meier’s distaste is evident. The artist’s bias for whimsical organic forms, his disregard for the architecture’s rigorous orthonography, and perhaps even his Detroit Tigers baseball hat all rub Richard Meier the wrong way, and he and his team of architects begin a reasoned, strongly-felt critique of the proposed plan. Irwin, sensing (correctly, as it turns out) that he has the client in his pocket, listens patiently and then says, “You want my response?” His response is the worst accusation you can lodge against a designer: “Bullshit.” This single word literally brings the ﬁlm to a crashing halt: a very long ﬁfteen seconds of dead silence follows, broken at last by an awkward offscreen suggestion that perhaps on this note the meeting should end, which it does. What is the relationship of bullshit and design? In asking this question, I am of course aware that bullshit has become a subject of legitimate inquiry these days with the popularity of Harry G. Frankfurt’s slender volume, On Bullshit. Frankfurt, Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Princeton, is careful to distinguish bullshit from lies, pointing out that bullshit is “not designed primarily to give its audience a false belief about whatever state of affairs may be the topic, but that its primary intention is rather to give its audience a false impression concerning what is going on in the mind of the speaker.” It follows that every design presentation is inevitably, at least in part, an exercise in bullshit. The design process always combines the pursuit of functional goals with countless intuitive, even irrational decisions. The functional requirements the house needs a bathroom, the headlines have to be legible, the toothbrush has to ﬁt in your mouth are concrete and often measurable. The intuitive decisions, on the other hand, are more or less beyond honest explanation. These might be: I just like to set my headlines in Bodoni, or I just like to make my products blobby, or I just like to cover my buildings in gridded white porcelain panels. In discussing design work with their clients, designers are direct about the functional parts of their solutions and obfuscate like mad about the intuitive parts, having learned early on that telling the simple truth “I don’t know, I just like it that way” simply won’t do. So into this vacuum rushes the bullshit: theories about the symbolic qualities of colors or typefaces; unprovable claims about the historical inevitability of certain shapes, fanciful forced marriages of arbitrary design elements to hard- headed business goals. As Frankfurt points out, it’s beside the point whether bullshit is true or false: “It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction.” There must only be the desire to conceal one’s private intentions in the service of a larger goal: getting your client it to do it the way you like it. Early in my life as a designer, I acquired a reputation as a good bullshitter. I remember a group assignment in design school where the roles were divided up. The team leader suggested that one student make the models, another take the photographs, and, ﬁnally, “Michael here will handle the bullshitting.” This meant that I would do talking at the ﬁnal critique, which I did, and well. I think I mastered this facility early because I was always insecure about my intuitive skills, not to mention my then-questionable personal magnetism. Before I could commit to a design decision, I needed to have an intellectual What is the relationship between bullshit and design? rationale worked out in my mind. I discovered in short order that most clients seemed grateful for the rationale as well. It put aside arguments about taste; it helped them make the leap of faith that any design decision requires; it made the design understandable to wider audiences. If pressed, however, I’d still have to admit that even my most beautifully wrought, bulletproof rationales still ﬁt Harry Frankfurt’s deﬁnition of bullshit. Calling bullshit on a designer, then, stings all the more because it contains an element of accuracy. In Concert of Wills, Richard Meier is shown privately seething after Robert Irwin drops the b-word. “For one person to say,” he tells the camera, “I want my object, I want my piece, to be more important than the larger landscape of the city...that my individual artwork is the controlling determinant, makes me furious, just makes me angry beyond belief.” Of course, that same accusation could be leveled against Meier himself, who out of necessity had been nothing if not single-minded and obstinate during the endless process of designing and building the Getty. The difference is that each of Meier’s victories was hard-won, with endless acres of negotiating, reasoning, and you-know-what expended in the process of winning over the project’s army of stakeholders. On the other hand, Robert Irwin, ﬂaunting intuition and impulse as his ﬁrst, last and only argument, required no compensating bullshit: he’s the artist, and that’s the way the artist likes it. Can you blame Meier for ﬁnding this maddening? Every once in a while, however, there is satisfaction to be had when design bullshit attains the level of art. I remember working years ago with a challenging client who kept rejecting brochure designs for a Francophile real estate development because they “weren’t French enough.” I had no idea what French graphic design was supposed to look like but came up with an approach using Empire, a typeface designed by Milwaukee-born Morris Fuller Benton in 1937, and showed it to my boss, Massimo Vignelli. “That will work,” he said, his eyes narrowing. At the presentation, Massimo unveiled the new font choice with a ﬂourish. “As you see,” he said, “in this new design, we’re using a typeface called Ahm- peere.” I was about to correct him when I realized he was using the French pronunciation of Empire. The client bought it. “Michael here will handle the bullshitting” Reader Comments We’ve all been there when forced to justify something in front of a client. Hopefully current and up-and-coming designers can be more informed and erudite when it comes to explaining the intrinsic importance of emotion and aesthetics within the design process. Resorting to speaking in a ‘foreign language’ to instruct or ‘BS’ a client doesn’t do anyone any favours. There is a growing body of research and writing in this ﬁeld which should be used by designers to inform their work and their clients. Sole reliance on ‘designer’s intuition’ in todays information-drenched and globally-connected world seems so, er, twentieth century. Ce n’est pas? Andrew Haig Bullshit: the trail of breadcrumbs leading a patron into the dark heart of the forest of art. You like this because I think it’s beautiful (and don’t feel like changing it). No refunds. Bullshit: the number of revisions a non-artistically inclined, design-impared holder of purse strings demands of you, culminating in a ﬁnal product looking quite similar to what they had used previously. Bullshit: the use of long, confustigating words - when one will do. Bullshit: Isms for Isms’ sake. High Art. Design. Academia. Rinse. Repeat. Bullshit is everything simplicity isn’t. Kevin If I understand it correctly ... Truth and Lies are not opposites, as Love and Hate are not opposites. Rather, Truth and Bullshit are the real opposites, as Love and Indifference are the real opposites. Lies hate and defy Truth, but in so doing must inherently care what the Truth is, whereas Bullshit is indifferent to what the Truth is. In this way, Bullshit is Truth’s true enemy (as Gunnar asserts above and Frankfurt asserts in On Bullshit). Rick Slusher
the Art Journal layout I created a more Speak worthy publication layout. Using Illustrator and InDesign I broke up the text to create vibrations. I also pulled out specific words that were important to the article. Although the image narrative is the same, it has changed in a way. Breaking the limits was important to keep the integrity of this layout. The Medium is the Massage Marshall McLuhan The medium, or process, of our time—electric technology—is reshaping and restructuring patterns of social interdependence and every aspect of our personal life. It is forcing us to reconsider and reevaluate practically every thought, every action, and every institution formerly taken for granted. Everything is changing—you, your family, your neighborhood, your education, your job, your government, your relation to “the others.” And they’re changing dramatically. The alphabet, for instance, is a technology that is absorbed by the very young child in a completely unconscious manner, by osmosis so to speak. Words and the meaning of words predispose the child to think and act automatically in certain ways. The alphabet and print technology fostered and encouraged a fragmenting process, a process of specialism and of detachment. Electric technology fosters and encourages uni cation and involvement. It is impossible to understand social and cultural changes without a knowledge of the workings of media. The older training of observation has become quite irrelevant in this new time, because it is based on psychological responses and concepts conditioned by the former technology—mechanization. Innumerable confusions and a profound feeling of despair invariably emerge in periods of great technological and cultural transitions. Youth instinctively understands the present environment-the electric drama. It lives mythically and in depth. This is the reason for the great alienation between generations. Wars, revolutions, civil uprisings are interfaces within the new environments created by electric informational media. societieshave always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication. 2 5
is a world of di erence between the modern home environment of integrated electric information and the classroom. Today’s television child is attuned to up-to-the-minute “adult” news—in ation, rioting, war, taxes, crime, bathing beauties —and is bewildered when he enters the nineteenth-century environment that still characterizes the educational establishment where information is scarce but ordered and structured by fragmented, classi ed patterns, subjects, and schedules. It is naturally an environment much like any factory set-up with its inventories and assembly lines. The “child” was an invention of the seventeenth century; he did not exist in, say, Shakespeare’s day. He had, up until that time, been merged in the adult world and there was nothinwg that could be called childhood in our sense. Today’s child is growing up absurd, because he lives in two worlds, and neither of them inclines him to grow up. Growing up—that is our new work, and it is total. Mere instruction will not su ce. your job “Jobs” represent a relatively recent pattern of work. From the fteenth century to the twentieth century, there is a steady progress of fragmentation of the stages of work that constitute “mechanization” and “specialism.” These procedures cannot serve for survival or sanity in this new time. Under conditions of electric circuitry, all the fragmented job patterns tend to blend once more into involving and demanding roles or forms of work that more and more resemble teaching, learning, and “human” service, in the older sense of dedicated loyalty. Unhappily, many well-intentioned political reform programs that aim at the alleviation of su ering caused by unemployment betray an ignorance of the true nature of media-in uence. your government Nose-counting, a cherished part of the eighteenth-century fragmentation process, has rapidly become a cumbersome and ine ectual form of social assessment in an The public, in the sense of a great consensus of is nished. Today, the mass audience (the successor participating force. It is, instead, merely Politics o ers yesterday’s answers to A new form of “politics” is emerging, and in ways we haven’t yet noticed. The living room has become a voting booth. Participation via television in Freedom Marches, in war, revolution, pollution, and other events is changing everything. “In the study of ideas, it is necessary to remember that insistence on hard-headed clarity issues from sentimental feeling, as it were a mist, cloaking the perplexities of fact. Insistence on clarity at all costs is based on sheer superstition as to the mode in which human intelligence functions. Our reasonings grasp at straws for premises and oat on gossamers for deductions.”—A. N. Whitehead, “Adventures in Ideas.” Our time is a time for crossing barriers, for erasing old categories—for probing around. When two seemingly disparate elements are imaginatively poised, put in apposition in new and unique ways, startling discoveries often result. Learning, the educational process, has long been associated only with the glum. We speak of the “serious” student. Our time presents a unique opportunity for learning by means of humor—a perceptive or incisive joke can be more meaningful than platitudes lying between two covers. Students of media are persistently attacked as evaders, idly concentrating on means or processes rather than on “substance.” The dramatic and rapid changes of “substance” elude these accusers. Survival is not possible if one approaches his environment, the social drama, with a xed, unchangeable point of view—the witless repetitive response to the unperceived. you How much do you make? Have you ever contemplated suicide? ? Are you aware of the fact...? I have here before me.... tyrannical womb-to-tomb surveillance are causing a very privacy and the community’s need to know. The older, traditional actions— the patterns of mechanistic technologies—are very seriously threatened by new methods of instantaneous electric information retrieval, by the electrically computerized dossier bank—that one big gossip column that is unforgiving, unforgetful and from which there is no redemption, no erasure of early “mistakes.” We have already reached a point where remedial control, born out of knowledge of media and their total e ects on all of us, must be exerted. How shall the new environment be programmed now that we have become so involved with each other, now that all of us have become the unwitting work force for social change? What’s that buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzing? your family The family circle has widened. The world-pool of information fathered by electric media—movies, Telstar, ight – far surpasses any possible in uence mom and dad can now bring to bear. Character no longer is shaped by only two earnest, fumbling experts. Now all the world’s a sage. your neighborhood Electric circuitry has overthrown the regime of “time” and “space” and pours upon us instantly and continuously the concerns of all other men. It has reconstituted dialogue on a global scale. Its message is Total Change, ending psychic, social, economic, and political parochialism. The old civic, state, and national groupings have become unworkable. Nothing can be further from the spirit of the new technology than “a place for everything and everything in its place.” You can’t go home again. What’s that buzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzing? Our “Age of Anxiety” is , in great part, the result of trying to do today’s job with yesterday’s tools-with yesterday’s . 2 6 “the others” The shock of recognition! In an electric information environment, minority groups can no longer be contained— ignored. Too many people know too much about each other. Our new environment compels commitment and participation. We have become irrevocably involved with, and responsible for, each other. All media work us over completely. They are so pervasive in their personal, political, economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical, and social consequences that they leave no part of us untouched, una ected, unaltered. The medium is the massage. Any understanding of social and cultural change is impossible without a knowledge of the way media work as environments. The wheel is an extension of the foot. The book is an extension of the eye...clothing, an extension of the skin...electric circuitry, an extension of the central nervous system. Media, by altering the environment, evoke in us unique ratios of sense perceptions. The extension of any one sense alters the way we think and act— the way we perceive the world. When these ratios change, men change. At the high speeds of electric communication, purely visual means of apprehending the world are no longer possible; they are just too slow to be relevant or e ective. Unhappily, we confront this new situation with an enormous backlog of outdated mental and psychological responses. We have been left dangling. —they refer us only to the past, not to the present. The young today live mythically and in depth. But they encounter instruction in situations organized by means of classi ed information—subjects are unrelated, they are visually conceived in terms of a blueprint. Many of our institutions suppress all the natural direct experience of youth, who respond with untaught delight to the poetry and the beauty of the new technological environment, the environment of popular culture. It could be their door to all past achievement if studied as an active (and not necessarily benign) force. It is a matter of the greatest urgency that our educational institutions realize that we now have civil war among these environments created by media other than the printed word. The classroom is now in a vital struggle for survival with the immensely persuasive “outside” world created by new informational media. Education must shift from instruction, from imposing of stencils, to discovery —to probing and exploration and to the recognition of the language of forms. Newtonian universe The Newtonian God— wound it , and withdrew —died a long time THIS is what Nietzsche meant and THIS is the God who is bein Newtonian universe The Newtonian God— the God who made a clocklikeuniverse, —died a long time ago. who is being observed. Real, total war has become information war. It is being fought by subtle electric informational media —under cold conditions, and constantly. The cold war is the real war front—a surround—involving everybody —all the time —everywhere. Whenever hot wars are necessary these days, we conduct them in the backyards of the world with the old technologies. These wars are happenings, tragic games. It is no longer convenient, or suitable, to use the latest technologies for ghting our wars, because the latest technologies have rendered war meaningless. The hydrogen bomb is history’s exclamation point. It ends an age-long sentence of manifest violence! Anyone who is looking around for a simulated icon of the deity in Newtonian guise might well be disappointed. The phrase “God is dead” applies aptly, correctly, validly to the Newtonian universe which is dead. The ground-rule of that universe, upon which so much of our Western world is built, has dissolved. This essay has been edited from the original. “The Medium is the Massage was originally published by Marshall McLuhan in collaboration with Quentin Fiore in 1967. The complete text is available at Gingko Press. www.gingkopress.com.
composition. I also took photographs of the composition in order to capture a moment. From a bathing tub I throw water into a lake - Slight muddiness appears. I chose to create a muddy composition that washed a portion of the text away. My thoughts related to the trade off between what we consider clean water now, and what we considered clean water years ago.