You have often spoken and written about the contradictions and injustices of industrial production. You’re notably critical of the way craftsmanship has been replaced by a process in which the job of creating things has been split up into different roles. What are your main objections?
The chief and most monstrous characteristic of our time is that the methods of manufacture which we employ and of which we are proud are such to make it impossible for the ordinary workman to be an artist, that is to say a man responsible not merely for doing what he is told but responsible also for the intellectual quality of what his deeds effect. The ordinary workman has been reduced to the level of a mere tool used by someone else. However much skill he may have in his fingers and conscientiousness in his mind, he can no longer be regarded as an artist, because his skill is not that of a man making things. He is simply a tool used by a designer and the designer is alone the artist.
So we have the designer who designs what he never makes and the worker who minds the machine which makes what he never designs. And we have the salesman who neither designs things nor minds machines but is supposed to know what the public wants. But the public doesn’t know what it wants, and it has no means of finding out.
- Eric Gill
read the whole interview here.
haha! I absolutely love that last bit. Sums up in-house graphic design to a tee. And production departments for that matter. That's exactly how I feel at work. We are called "designers", but we are totally just bodies that know how to use the programs and make the computer do what essentially the sales rep and customer want. We don't "design" a damn thing. I've only worked in one other in-house design department, but it was basically the same. You come up with an idea, and yes, you sell that idea to the committee or customer, but ultimately it is the customer that has the final say. They are the one paying for the product. They make changes and ask you to add or take out stuff. You can try to sway them if it is a hideous suggestion (starbursts are awesome!!), but they can say "no, I think we should do such and such". And, ultimately, the customer has the money, the company you work for wants the money, therefore the customer gets what they want. Designer = tool. In-house design = fail.
my opinion is, if you want to do real graphic design, you have to network your way into a small design firm, or start your own business.
wow i am ranting today, and apparently i'm really bitter. huh.