my latest IFP article is a call to arms to designers and those employing them, to raise the standard in terms of what is aesthetically acceptable. it’s very easy to dismiss the need for a good looking visual design, when money is short and the immediate gains are negligible. the article strives to point out however that the long-term affects of these decisions can be quite damaging, both psychologically and sociologically. here’s an excerpt from the piece -
“to reiterate once and for all, it’s our responsibility as human beings to remember there’s a lot of people on the planet who have no control over the look of the world around them and who are ruled by those who want to ‘make a buck’. those of us that must suffer living beneath billboards towering above, promising soulless dreams, the garishly coloured junk food wrappers sitting in the gutter, the television commercials selling drugs for pains that don’t exist, the dying buildings built with cheap materials slumping under the weight of their own short lives, the angry faces and the lack of respect for anything. these people aren’t idiots. they know better than anyone that the look of the world around them massively affects their subconscious state of mind. they know it when they walk out of their rotting front door, glance at the grey sky, the paint peeling from the walls of their neighbour’s house across the street, scrape the ice from their car’s windshield with the splintering lid of a margarine tub, curse as the car won’t start and their foot goes through the rusted bottom of it as they lash out in anger. they know it when some of them later get drunk and walk around smashing windows, keying car doors, spray-painting church walls, and beating people up – all scenes I’ve witnessed in my years growing up in england in the suburbs of cambridge, 3 years at university in manchester and later living in bedford-stuyvesant in new york city. It’s a level of rage that I can support and forgive when places like that are your reality. try getting mugged at 8:30am on your way to work, as i was in 2008, and being told by the cops that there’s no point in reporting it.
some of these people hate the world around them. they know what the end-game is better than the thoughtless assholes who make the products, create the ads for them and leave those ads gathering mould on some rusted old bus-stop sign, 23 stops out of town in some relentless nightmare of a burnt out suburb. the sorts of places that otherwise only filmmakers dare frequent in order to make their gritty melodramas. we have got to remember that every small gesture toward making things simply functional, that disregards how much ‘greyer’ you are making the user’s day, is a very valid negative point.”
you can read the rest of the article here.