Sobjectivity: A new way of decolonisation of design
Hello all, this is a research paper I had written during my exchange semester at Willem de Kooning, Netherlands (2019) as a part of an elective course. Let me know your thoughts on it! I made my own title for it : subjectivity + objectivity = sobjectivity :DAs a kid I always heard my parents say, ‘Be the best version of yourself in whatever you pursue’. They set great examples for me by excelling in their respective fields with hard work and passion. One saying by one of the legends of Dutch Graphic design Jan Van Toorn was exactly why I decided to pursue design and what impact I want it to have for the people around me:“Think of your work and think of what’s going around you.” The main idea is to analyse two very salient aspects of the design field which seem different but are very much interconnected. To date designers debate about “subjectivity” and “objectivity” and which one of these approaches leads to a successful end outcome. The work designers make is inspired by taste, and taste is often derived from what they’re exposed to during their upbringing. This leads me to the initiation of the second part of the paper: Decolonisation in Design. Decolonisation basically means changing the way we think.It is important that all of us are aware how each passing day the way we think, done and being across communities and cultures are being structured to be more similar due to technology. This is an analysis of decolonisation of politics in design in a world where thinking and cultures are being aligned yet we face one challenge: How do designers encounter clients who do not belong to the same community as them and whether we should adopt a subjective approach, an objective approach or pass on the project to someone who relates to that community.Jan Van Toorn and Wim Crouwel adopted two very different perspectives towards their work; one being a subjective approach and other being an objective one. Though both had disparate approaches they both left a mark in the history of graphic design. While one believes that the designer’s sacred duty to present what the clients want to say, as clearly and objectively possible. There is no need to be involved in the message as it’ll make it inevitably clouded and confuse the message making it harder for the viewer to understand. Crouwel thought of technology as a source of wonder and said that design is a matter of analysis and rational order, not of art, and the graphic designer ought to approach his task more like an industrial designer. He was a man who wanted to create a sense of order amidst the world’s immense visual chaos. Crouwel and his studio wanted to streamline and standardise the design process. According to him a rational, scientific approach served as the best guarantee, provided proof of professionalism and when used as basic principle was proof of personal style, instead of the changeability and the randomness of forms and individual opinion. He rejected and avoided ambiguity as well as symbolism and indistinctness. He argued that designers had to be neutral, professional and always rise above the trends of zeitgeist. The message was the ‘essence’, meaning the design had to be clear and functional.With the formalist principle, one can achieve clarity, balance and detachment. It aims to be ‘objective’ which creates a professional impression. However, it also comes of as cold, if not sterile. » Read More
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