Design Bullshit: The Art of Settling

Image reads: This is a bullshit free zone. We do not apologize for any inconvenience.

Image reads: This is a bullshit free zone. We do not apologize for any inconvenience.

Is the art of presenting and selling the design process an exercise in bullshit? In this article, Michael Bierut, with a myriad of other respected designers, discusses this controversial question.

Graphic designers solve problems that are part functional and part emotional. Function is rational and quantifiable and easily justified. Emotion is intuitive, often irrational, and hardly quantifiable.

In the comments section of the article, some argue that bullshitting is part of the game: design is a service initiated by those who don’t speak the design language, therefore it must make sense in those terms (even if it undermines true reasoning.) Others argue bullshitting as a detrimental and loaded term; an excuse for a lack of solid philosophical foundation and thorough research.

Here at Otherwise, we believe that bullshit isn’t necessary through hard work. The designer’s intention should be based on imperatives that, whether rational or emotional, must relate to its audience, its culture, its content and its purpose. Looking at previously designed work helps cement much of the aesthetic and functional decisions, leaving little room for after-the-fact rationale. Only with an informed argument can subjective elements be effectively discussed.

The process of selling design is itself an act of design, and all hope is lost if the designer buys his/her own bullshit.

Yuri Priamo Canales is a Graphic Designer at Otherwise Incorporated.

Photo Credit: viscousplatypus