Design + Direction

Making others see.

“Art is not what you see, it’s what you make others see.” — Degas, attributed.

I've been thinking about this quote in the context of providing purpose and meaning out of what we value in this over-saturated age of social media. The advancements in technology we benefit from are astounding, but if we don't use them to our advantage as the enablers that they are— what sort of future, and society, are we contributing to? After reading Elon Musk's biography late last year, I was struck with a similar sentiment when he talks about the real-world engineering challenges he chooses to tackle (space, electric cars, solar) versus what the highly-cherished CS jobs in Silicon Valley value (clicks for advertising). This also translates magnificently to this recent article by Mike Monteiro around "my generation's" state of the design industry— as we move toward fast, fast, fast we lose sight of the why: and that, as he points out, can have real life consequences. In turn, we're contributing to the demise of our own value and role. It's a bleak reality where "the best <designer-role>" for the job isn't one whose well-thought out work can best communicate to their audience, but one who can copy-paste faster.

With the exponential growth of "screens", a term I'm finding more and more anachronistic, the demand for content continues insatiably— giving rise to so much meaningless... noise. If you've ever subscribed to Cable TV, you undoubtedly understand where I'm coming from. Social media has, deservedly so, given everyone their own channel far beyond what Warhol could have imagined— and, as visual communicators, we need to be more thoughtful and less flattering lest we forget the sword that hangs overhead.