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"What is graphic design?"

On Friday 13 June the seminar 'Characters, personality and design' took place at the new Graphic Design Museum in Breda. A day of lectures on the role of the graphic designer. Design.nl was there to make a report.

By No author / 20-06-2008

On Friday 13 June the seminar 'Characters, personality and design' took place at the new Graphic Design Museum in Breda. A day of lectures on the role of the graphic designer. Design.nl was there to make a report.

What is graphic design? This is the question with which Bruno Monguzzi kicked off the seminar about graphic design on Friday 13 June in Breda. As he sees it, now and then we forget that the designer is simply someone who has to communicate a message or idea from one person to the other via a two dimensional medium. However, designers are behaving more and more like artists and sometimes to forget how to communicate. Lauren Tan, from the Design Council London, adding to this said that a designer is also "a strategist, co-creator, rationalist and story teller."

A designer translates the client's message, but also does more than that. It would also be good if designers thought about their contribution to society through design. Is design sustainable? Does it help other people? Is it good for the environment? Designers have to believe in their decisions and continue to support their design even when the client doesn't think much of it. Julius Vermeulen of TNT and Willem Kars, formerly of Philips discussed these themes. Perhaps the discussion would have had more bite if a designer had been also been asked to take part...

It is noticable that clients see designers as a sort of shop. They want a design with the colour and form of their own choosing and forget the contribution the designer makes to this process. Designers must resist this and continue to stand behind their own design. Before the lunch break Karel van der Waarde from the AKV St. Joost presented research about graphic design in Breda. No definite conclusions can yet be drawn. But it is certainly clear that graphic designers almost never work solely as designers. Often they are illustrators, webdesigners, project managers and desk top publishers as well. Whether this benefits the discipline was discussed over lunch. During the afternoon there were inspiring presentations by multidesigner Mieke Gerritzen, graphic designer Robin Uleman and designer Teun Castelijn about their Flag Project.

All in all it was an exciting day, made complete by taking a look at the inspirational new Graphic Design Museum Breda and picking up a couple of Paul Mijjksenaar goodies from the adjoining Graphic Museum Shop.

Images:
Bruno Monguzzi
Julius Vermeulen and Willem Kars
Mieke Gerritzen
The shop
Graphic Design Museum
Flag project

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