Week 3 Lecture Notes & Reflection

WEEK 3: GLOBALISATION

This week contained some complex themes that made me think about how different the industry is today than it was a couple of generations ago. Whilst I’ve come into the world of graphic design in the internet age, I imagine the leap for older generations was very much a “do or die”. I feel this way about adapting to modern practice – as the technology grows, I must keep up to stay relevant in the industry.

Regarding globalisation I have always thought of that as more of an interconnectedness that has made everything feel more available, introducing me to new ideas and new cultures. This course itself is an excellent case in point – I have the opportunity to speak to peers from across the globe about design. A few people on the ideas wall did point out that design is still very westernised and focused on western world views in terms of industry standard, but overall I feel that the opportunities for working with the whole world can only be a good thing, if we get the balance right between globalisation and homogenisation of culture. As a white male British designer, it is important that I recognise that white male European design has dominated the industry since much of its creation, and it is high time to amplify voices from across different cultures, races, ages and of course genders.

CASE STUDIES.

Simon Manchipp: “There’s a lot of negativity surrounding globalisation and how it’s leading to a homogenisation of thinking, but actually I think the opposite is true, I think it’s encouraging greater collaboration, it’s encouraging bigger ideas and then it’s allowing us to work on a much bigger canvas.” I have highlighted this particular quote from Simon as I really agree. I love the idea of collaboration and the opportunity for learning and experimenting.

Sam Winston: “If I want to do a project that I’m very serious about, there is something to be said about flying there, knocking on the door and turning up.” I thought this was an incredibly privileged thing to say and does not look to the future of modern design – we have the technology to reach someone in San Francisco for a coffee by calling them into a video chat and enjoying a coffee together that way. I think by paying for  a plane ticket and flying across the ocean, turning up unannounced and asking if they want a coffee is not a show of Sam being more authentic as a designer, rather being more ostentatious and showing off to the client. 

Tom & Kristoffer: The boys reflect here that whilst face to face meetings would you think be unavoidable, technology has actually made it more accessible than ever to have clients globally. Speaking of how scheduling a specific time with your client or having less ease of access to them definitely means that you have a different focus. There was a particular comment made that really resonated with me:

“I mean visual culture has become a little bit more uniform across the world.” Undeniably. You can tell by the fact that our own western perspective that anime and manga have become mainstream in our art for example, that non-english speaking music is gaining popularity. It is easier than ever to communicate with anyone across the world. In my current role I work entirely from home and have clients from across the globe, and they are all interested in the same thing; how can my company and design studio meet their visual communication need to sell products? It has been really interesting to learn about different business customs and how different countries emphasise different values – for example, my American clients talk a lot more overtly about money and making money, whilst in other places in the world it is more about creating a design that is worthy of their brand.

Sarah: Having the opportunities to speak at different festivals around the world sounds different to what the other guys are talking about. This feels more like how design can celebrate and unite, to create relationships and understanding as opposed to homogenising or white-washing culture. Sarah’s comments made me aware that other forms of design exist outside of western narratives, even out of upper class white London narratives, which all 5 case studies are speaking from. Hew Locke, Falmouth alumni, highlights the importance of recognising colonialism in his collection “Souvenir” (2019) which looks to play with the proud white busts of the British Monarchy whilst being heavily laden with the jewels and medals of other cultures – taking other cultural ideas and norms and making them British without any context or recognition for the originator. The pieces were beautiful and challenging, and an important reminder that globalisation, homogenisation and colonialism are not that far removed. 

Souvenir 1, Locke, H. (2019)

Anita Seppä (2010) furthers this train of thought in a discussion that looks at colonialism, globalisation and how a unique culture (in this instance, Australian Aborigine culture) can be still utilised in modern aesthetic practice whilst still retaining what makes it unique.

Big brands such as coca-cola have managed to stay relevant across the world via clever marketing, advertising and design in order to globalise without forcing the Americanised version into all countries. 

Loeschen, D., (2019) COCA-COLA – THE DRINK THAT UNITES THE WORLD

This is the same as McDonalds, who use different menus more tailored to the host country’s own food whilst keeping the same “Golden Arches” across the world.

The video again I think celebrated the interconnectedness of the world as opposed to looking at the potential continuation of colonialism through design and marketing, so I will pick back up with my thoughts on the week overall.

The entirety of how we look at graphic design now through the very stark minimalism that we all work with and still I the industry trend and has been for some years, has been based around the Swiss minimalism and grid based design work (Müller-Brockmann,1981) and Bahaus (Wolfe, T. 1981).

Utimately though we think of globalisation as being modern, globalisation in the mid-century has influenced on how we all work as designers now. 

Without being exposed to grid based design and that minimalism we would still be looking at design in the traditional turn of the century regal design of London, that was very decorative and ornate.

Advertisement for “Era” gas fires, 1901 (COPY 1/136 f.203) National Archives (2021)

I would argue that globalisation in design happened already with the post-modernist movement that we still adhere to today as taught industry practice. I look forward to a more connected world that also celebrates diversity and different ways of looking at design, through different lenses of experience and culture.

REFERENCES

Langdon, M. (2014). The work of art in a digital age; Art, Technology and Globalisation. New York: Springer.

Locke, H. (2019). Souvenir. [online] Hewlocke.net. Available at: <http://www.hewlocke.net/souvenir.html> 

Loeschen, D., (2019) COCA-COLA – THE DRINK THAT UNITES THE WORLD. [online] Mixer Direct. Available at: <https://www.mixerdirect.com/blogs/mixer-direct-blog/coca-cola-the-drink-that-unites-the-world> 

Muller-Brockmann, Josef (1981). Grid Systems in Graphic Design; Raster Systeme Fur Die Visuelle Gestaltung. Niederteufen, Switzerland: Arthur Niggli.

The National Archives. (2021). Era gas fires 1897 – The National Archives. [online] Available at: <https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/selling-the-victorians/era-gas-fires-1897/> [Accessed 8 May 2021].

Seppä, A. (2010) Globalisation and the arts: the rise of new democracy, or just another pretty suit for the old emperor?, Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, 2:1,  

Wolfe, T. (1981) From Bauhaus to Our House. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux