Some of us embraced religion to escape the darkness within. Others use it to justify it.
I wilfully ran into a labyrinth of my own design and now I can’t find my way out.
I have grown weary of these technologies which have become our everything. They have put in place new daily rituals, more sacred than prayer. This plate of glass, these intricate pixels: they have become the first thing I see in the morning, the last thing at night. At nine o’clock, ten, twelve, half-past three. And when sleepless at night it is there. Connected, but desolate within. I enjoy the interactions with others, the sharing of thoughts, virtual smiles, news, new friends – and old. Without it there is loneliness. Yet to be alone is a battle cry: to disconnect, to withdraw, to walk away. To seek refuge in recitations in a quiet place. To rediscover a good book gathering dust. This plate of glass and aluminium has supplanted an ordinary life, leaving migraines and regret in its wake. In truth, I wish there was a delete key for what I have become.
Graphic designers, think about the message you are conveying through your art.
A few months back I saw a poster for an event which pertained to making ourselves better people. The poster featured beautiful typography befitting the occasion, and an elegant decorative border too. In an effort to convey an idea of classical authenticity, the designer had chosen an antique paper background. It could have worked, but the chosen specimen was badly blotched and deteriorated, dark and unappealing. To me it gave a horrible impression of a dismal event.
This evening I came across a poster featuring a crumpled paper background. Such an effect has its place, but not here when you’re advertising a course that’s going to have a positive impact on people’s lives. If you handed around meeting notes at work which looked like that, you’d be booted out the door. If you handed in homework which looked like that, it would be thrown back in your face. As a potential student I want to know that the organisers care. First impressions count. Don’t hand me a poster which looks like it got trampled on and forgotten.
I like skeuomorphic design – in its place. But done badly, it can kill your message in the minds of your audience, ever before they have had a chance to read the all-important details.
Graphic design is the art of communication, not the art of messing about with special effects.
Who convinced these people to embrace the hideousification of the face? Why uglify yourself that way? Grateful to have preceded Generation Mipster; we were blessed with the natural elegance of an unassuming modest beauty. The grotesque, gargantuan inventions of today’s fashionistas are like comic turn. Clowns revelling in an identity without its core.
I have built another of those vast and complex and intricate edifices, which tower high above me. Now I must tear it down for the good of my soul, but it pains me. Yesterday I called in demolition, but halted deconstruction half way through. These towers of ego and desire are a work of art. But a yoke around my neck. The good within regrets engineering these great carbuncles, but soon the bad within will regret the act of dismemberment, and even now petitions me, “Stop!” Once more I have invested everything in this edifice. But either it falls, or I fall. These are the choices we set for ourselves. It is not a question of knowing what to do: that is easy. It is having the resolve to break every last brick, to walk away for good, to remove its foundations completely. It is the resolve to tear up the architect’s plans, to smash the intricate carvings, to bring it to nothing. It is the courage to write off an investment for the sake of one better than it. It is the courage to pull back from the brink. “Return” whispers my heart, but inside a war is raging. These are the battles of the soul. These are the inner idols.
Repeatedly I invest so much in that which is of no benefit to me until leaving it becomes the heaviest of burdens. Then when I finally convince myself to tear the flimsy construction down, it causes those regrets which in time will see its repetition all over again. So the cycle just repeats over and over again, as I oscillate between the reforming spirit and the rebellious. The reforming spirit speaks of the greater regrets to come, but the rebellious is a brilliant whisperer, ever able to convince of the rightness of yet another wrong. And so here I am once more, back where I started.
We are finding out the hard way about the power of the web. As site/blog/twit owners we need learn and relearn the ethics of posting media that does not belong to us. It’s all too easy to google an image and treat the search results as a clip art gallery. Of course Google simply trawls all content for relevant media; it does not distinguish Copyright material from CreativeCommons.
But as individuals we also need to seriously consider the wisdom of posting media which *does* belong to us.
Some friends constantly post images of themselves and their children on Facebook, believing them safe from the Google robots. Well they might be, but they haven’t fixed their privacy settings to prevent a distant acquaintance like me from witnessing every visit to grandparents, every bout of sickness, each momentous first step.
It only takes one person to borrow your Selfie to illustrate an article on the web for the process of Google dissemination to begin. Combined with popular keywords – african american, hijab, Muslim, niqab – it will soon appear on multiple sites, reused and reused, and out of control.
We have learned the hard way about the dangers of publishing to public media sites like Flickr. Realising our errors, as we notice others cataloguing, favouriting, reusing our images, we attempt to back track, only to discover that it is too late. We no longer seem to own our images – or our text, artwork, videos – they have taken on a life of their own, sometimes landing in the hands of the most despicable.
Here again ample illustration that we need a legal and ethical guide to navigating the great world wide web. May we all take heed.
My two stage action plan.
First step: to stop being bad.
Second step: to start being good.