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September 27, 2006



I agree. Postmodern theory can enable us as designers to create richer ideas and find deeper meaning in our work. Finding inspiration on a more critical level can help us create powerful and influential work.

Lorraine Wild

Well, I guess since leggings under dresses are back in, we must re-visit this as well. ;)
There's been a lot of commentary on this over the years, on whether theory and philosophy can be used to generate new design, or if it is only useful as a tool for analyzing that which has already been made. I think a lot of design teachers decided that it was that latter rather than the former, but a lot of interesting typography was created during those years, which tends to contradict that current prejudice.


I dunno. Seems like there's a lotta confusion over leggings... er, I mean the"new" and postmodernism. Seems like a lot of designers feel they have to chase the new, but really I think it's the other way around -- the new is chasing us. That Cranbrook stuff was the moment when the race was a tie.

cameron ewing

yesyes, but i've been asking myself this: in the moment of design, pencil to paper, pen to tablet, am i thinking about what deridda has to say about deconstructionalism...or am i simply making. for the analysis comes into play up front and in post. but not often during. so perhaps the theory can fuel what intruiges and inspires, which ultimately affects our design, but i think to attempt to do so inn order to define or identify 'the new' is futile.


I think that today philosophy and theory are tools to rethink ideas and get inspired by analyzing the past. But can it create something new? I don't know.

Feels like that technology is often stronger.

Lorraine Wild

The more you will read, the more interesting a designer you will probably become. But it is not a linear, cause-and-effect process. As theory entered design education, many people thought you could actually literally use it as a subject. This turned out to be a bomb most of the time. But was important was the knwledge from reading theory and philosophy stregthening one's ability to analyze the work that one made oneself, or the work of others. So a fluency in the way that ideas are constructed, or the ability to recognize ideas buried under things is strengthened by the rigors of doing the reading-work. But it will never tell you literally how to design.

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