One Reason I find Graphic Design Metaphysically Fulfilling

I have been taking a course on Aesthetic Theory, which I just started last week. So far it is providing me great insight into what we do as designers and the nature of the role aesthetics play in our world.

In our discussion, we came across an interesting debate between Marx and Hegel. The question was: Where does social change happen?

To Hegel, social change happens in the world of ideas. This meaning that it is in the space of ideas where society finds itself and also where social change happens. In Hegel’s view it is in new ideas and when new ideas populate people’s minds that social change occurs.

Marx feels the opposite. To Marx, it is practice that is most important. Of course Marx recognizes that ideas are important, but Marx believes that it is in practice where social change occurs. Even with new ideas, it is people’s practical experience (or the practical functioning of institutions) that creates change.

Of course both Hegel and Marx make very valid points, and in some ways it is a chicken and egg conundrum. Of course, we need new ideas in order to create new practices, but at the same time new practices create new ideas.

Between this debate, I considered a middle path — a place where I think designers fall precisely into and one of the reasons I enjoy design so much. Design is itself the marriage between new ideas and practice. Each and every design starts with a concept that is ultimately put into practice. Indeed, this is almost the definition of design. Thus, it is precisely the work of designers where the bridge between Hegel and Marx exists.

The work that designers do — turning concepts into reality — is indeed something that I enjoy so much about being a designer and gives me great fulfillment in my practice.