End of Design, Beginning of Process
Manifesto of Process Design | Graphic Design Discourse
Graphic design is a problem-solving methodology driven by analytical and structural thinking. A graphic designer is not merely a utilitarian visual mechanic, but a consilient transdiscursive auteur of the ‘desire of the other’. Our creativity comes from a critical analysis of communication and prehension processes through structural and poststructural understanding of discourses on ontology, epistemology, semiotics and linguistics.
Confrontation, which is a process of radical doubt—antithesis against a generic thesis—leads us to a constructive and productive synthesis. The visual outcome is simply a natural result of this evolution, but it is neither what graphic design is, nor what defines a graphic designer.
The process itself cannot be a solution either. The solution is the visual outcome, the signifier. Design is langue, visual language. Thus execution requires craftsmanship built upon a strong syntactical foundation. Neither language, nor design, can be self taught.
Thinking without pragmatics cannot be considered design.
A visual without thinking is just visual rubbish.
Screw design thinkers.
Screw visual polluters.
It is all about process!
Our faith in an engineered process of dissection and construction makes us enjoy every step and every moment of creative challenges with passion, enthusiasm, and excitement. We can imagine our lives as a continuous Stendhal syndrome of our own design, essential superject.
Structural Process Designers of the World, Unite!
Everything is design.
We design everything.
Design is everything.
Graphic Design Discourse 2016
The aim of graphic design is simple; graphic design is visual communication. And yet, in spite of the relatively straight-forward goal of communicating information, the field of graphic design has struggled to situate itself between two aesthetic antipodes. On the one hand, graphic design tends towards the studio arts. Such design unabashedly bears the eccentric mark of an individual designer. At its extreme, expressive graphic design can fail to successfully — that is, unambiguously— communicate with its audience. On the other hand, graphic design can be rigorously systematized, eschewing the authorial imprint in favor of clear, objective information.
At the precipice, structural graphic design becomes rote and predictable, it is the bland output of algorithmic design vending machines based on a given system and structure.
Modernism provided a gospel to the age of information and communication after the industrial revolution. The modernist doctrine has proven to be a universally sophisticated approach to design, one that can traverse ethnographically, but can structurally limit a designer’s aesthetic personality. Postmodern trials sought to find a way of embedding their “aura” by simply destroying the structural outline of modernity. During the de(con)structural era, this was an attempt at a true ideology that some felt lacking within the confines of modernism.
Designers have claimed various new roles with a strong emphasis on design thinking, but craftsmanship based on design principles continues to have a strong position in defining who is a designer, rather that what is design.
In the age of information, graphic designers must be all things — thinker and technician, problem solver and practitioner. We must be goal-oriented and process-driven always; however, our role hinges not only on our ability to produce successful outcomes, but on our ability to think rationally, argue reasonably, and author the desire of others within a given system. We are not studio artists; we are engineers of communication. We create not because we are creative; but because we are radical believers in the value of a structurally sound and well-delivered message.
If we allow ourselves to ascribe to confrontation as a method of truth finding — if we allow our ideas to be challenged and negated ad infinitum — we will discover a positive systematic means of yielding a productive synthesis. No designer is an island; our dominion is found in the act of letting go and trusting the process, a process that is always heteronomous, never solitary, and one that should stand upon the shoulders of sound theoretical discourse. We are collaborators, transdiscursive authors, and engineers of our own making. Graphic design is in its infancy; therefore, we must take this opportunity to define our identity, as it will shape our influence moving forward.
Is it possible to design information in a singular expressive way without forgoing the design’s purpose — clear and concise visual communication with a concrete structural methodology of thinking and visualization process? Before proffering thoughts on this novel approach, we must glean insights from design’s history, theories, and discourses.
Graphic Design Discourse, the Book (Fall 2017)
Most of existing design theory or history books are either based on 1. a single author’s personal view on history, 2. collection of designers’ personal essays or 3. a single author’s personal interpretation of other disciplines such as semiotics or linguistics in vague design pragmatics.
Graphic Design Discourse is a collection of discourses; canonical ideologies and practices that have been observed, gathered, and recorded for the purpose of providing a new generation of designers with a collection of interpretative teachings—a design(ed) doctrine.
Under art direction of Henry Hongmin Kim (Associate Chair |Graphic Design | SCAD Atlanta), over 500 articles and books by philosophers, designers, architects, artists and critics were reviewed and analyzed and approximately 100 final texts have been selected and arranged based on the evolution of design discourses throughout history. Graphic Design Discourse presents a chronological progression of honest and in-depth dialogue in a sophisticated and theoretical manner.
Graphic Design Discourse is categorized into hundreds of articles in seven major categories, separated into processes. Each process denotes a different aspect relevant within design. Processes serve as individual anchor points, chronologically ordered, secured by individuals, and curated into accessible sections to be devoured. A new anchor acts as a turn of prehension from the previous point, allowing for the evolution of design history through a deductive method of discourses.
Thus, an individual design methodology should be a process of deduction, and not an inductive process drenched in generalized empirical knowledge. Each process is extremely important in understanding how we as designers have landed in our current position. Without the anchor points we would freefall, with them we have the ability to strengthen our resolve, and push design into the future.
Graphic Design Discourse is not a proclamation of a singular truth, but rather an analysis of multiple understandings. As graphic designers, we must consider our role in this process more critically; we must broaden our scope of knowledge, and develop a clear theoretical understanding of what it means to communicate.
Graphic Design Discourse is the manifestation of the pursuit of unity in knowledge—concrescence among philosophers, academics, and designers. It is a collection of expansive discourses that will aid in guiding us to a more critical and learned understanding of what it is that we do, and what our role in society will be in the future. We are not spontaneous beings; nothing is natural; everything is designed. It is our responsibility to fully understand the breadth and influence of our field, and in turn, derive our creativity from a comprehensive understanding of the discourse that surrounds it.
Graphic Design Discourse will be foreworded by designer Steff Geissbühler, published by Princeton Architectural Press, NY and release in Fall 2017. The book cover has been screen printed as Manifesto of Process Design.
We believe this is the right moment to create the ultimate archive and canon of design theories and discourses to ensure a bright and sophisticated future of design and its education.
Everything is design.
We design everything.
Design is everything.
This book is the culmination of its own design process. Every step created, every item designed was done so by looking at it from multiple angles, and multiple sets of eyes. Thus, the book is a full collaborative effort directed by Henry Hongmin Kim. Below are the designers who brought this book to life.
Structure & Process Designer
Henry Hongmin Kim
Associate Process Designer
Megan Leann King Dombeck
Jennifer Lippert | Simone Kaplan-Senchak | Jenny Florence
Peter Wong | Elizabeth Mandel |Lisa Babb | Holly Quarzo | Courtney Garvin | Barry Roseman | Jan Lorenc | Chung Yoo | Heather Buchanan
John Waters | Bob Newman | Doug Grimmett | Dan Ahn | Stephen Farrell
Assistant Content Designers
Aaron Brown | Ryan Nix Glenn
Associate Visual Designers
Brett Andrew Miotti | Erkan Centic | Dinesh Dave | Eric Beatty | Kendall Henderson | Johnas Andre | Jaemin Yoon | Yeon Jin Kim | Thai Truong | Rachele McGinty-Mock | Ashley Tipton | Heesoo Goh | Sohee Kwon | Dosung Hwang | Connor Dwyer | Robert Brown | James Arnold | Roberto Castillo