I went to the AIB (Arts Institute at Bournemouth) last week, to give a short talk about Eye and the commissioning and production processes that go on behind the magazine. This was followed by a general discussion that ranged in subject matter from technology to the cult of star designers. However the really hot topic was ethics in design in general, and the First Things First 2000 manifesto in particular.
The renewed interest in Ken Garland’s original 1964 manifesto was prompted in part by Andrew Howard’s article ‘There is such a thing as society’ in Eye no. 13. The article is now available to read in full on the Eye website. But there’s plenty more to be said. The manifesto may be a little gauche and confusing in places (did UK designers get butt toner?), but the idea that ‘Designers . . . are all helping draft a reductive and immeasurably harmful code of public discourse’ continues to strike a chord: are graphic designers part of the problem or part of the solution?
In the light of last November’s Eye Forum, and a ‘Being good’ piece by Lucienne Roberts in the forthcoming issue of Eye (no. 63 vol. 16), please treat this little blog as an opportunity to continue the debate. JLW