Did Hitler have great designers? Can good design be bad design?
Tobias van Schneider
80546

Great article and definitely some food for thought.
It is my conviction that the distinction between aesthetics and message should be made.
Andy Warhol made some great paintings portraying Mao Zedong. Many poster stores sell Chinese art from that era in the form of posters, postcards, notepad covers, etc. Only on Allposters.com alone, there are more than 400 pieces of artwork on sale that are very popular and praised for its artistic value. Mao Zedong is responsible for an estimated 40.000.000 deaths of innocent people.
Leni Riefenstahl broke new grounds with her movies Triumph of the Will and Olympia — Festival of Nations. Movies that set a new standard for use of photograpy and editing for Hollywood productions.
Political views on the current elections in the US should prevent any designer to work for either Clinton or Trump. Still, numerous blogs and articles are dedicated to discussing whether the logos are good or bad, based on aesthetics. I don’t think Michael Bierut will have sleepless nights over his Hillary logo while the Clintons are being accused of murdering those who stand in their way, and all the illicit financial issues they’re assumedly involved in.
We cannot judge or dismiss design based on what the state of a nation was while (bad) history was in the making. That judgement is often done in hindsight, when the dust has settled. Maybe in 20 years from now there will be a call to ban all Obama’s Hope posters because of the Middle East issue. (How many people died and are still dying there because of US policies?). Time will tell.
Warhol’s Mao paintings are still great pieces of art, Riefenstahl’s movies are still stunningly beautiful, and Obama’s Hope poster is still one of the best poster designs ever. Whatever the message is, it deserves our apprecition for its artistic value.
That leaves ethics up to the common consensus of the times we are living in.

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