Episode #142
My Favourite Kind of Design – Part 2 – Old Design and Alan Fletcher


Here’s another episode where I gush about my favourite kind of design.

Music and links from this episode

  1. Whiteout by Little Glass Men
  2. Clover by Little Glass Men
  3. Westside Chillers by Little Glass Men

Line-by-line notes

  1. I was asked by Ian Moss
  2. What my favourite piece of design is
  3. And what areas, such as communication, graphic design, architecture
  4. I enjoyed answering the question so much back in episode 122
  5. That I’m going to answer it again
  6. Let’s go for a second round
  7. This is all about my favourite kind of design
  8. This is AADA, and I’m Craig Burgess
  9. MUSIC
  10. When I think about design that I love
  11. I mean, really love
  12. Almost none of it is new design
  13. In episode 138 I spoke about designing logos
  14. And how all of my favourite logos were Paul Rand ones
  15. I love old graphic design especially, because it has something that I can’t quite put my finger on
  16. Lots of it has has an innocence that’s missing from modern graphic design
  17. Now, you can easily hide behind amazing technical ability
  18. You can hide behind how well you can command Illustrator or Photoshop to realise your pretty pictures
  19. Old graphic design didn’t allow for that
  20. You drew ideas on paper, then you drew them again properly, and somebody would use that as an actual logo
  21. Old graphic design was limited by the production methods available
  22. But because of that, the ideas behind so many of them are amazing
  23. You couldn’t rely on execution to hide behind
  24. You had to come up with an amazing idea, something witty or clever
  25. Witty and clever design is much rarer these days
  26. Maybe it’s because there’s so many more designers
  27. And anybody can be a designer with a laptop and the right applications
  28. So all the good stuff gets hidden under the dross
  29. Or maybe it’s just that modern design favours technically brilliant design over witty stuff
  30. I’m not really sure on that one
  31. But when it comes to designers that I’d love to even have 20% of their skill and intellect, Paul Rand is on the list, but Alan Fletcher is somebody I appreciate even more
  32. Paul Rand was just way more than just a designer, and he embodied what I see a “proper” designer should be
  33. His fascination about the world of design and art never faded throughout his whole career
  34. And his books, particularly The Art of Looking Sideways, are masterpieces
  35. The Art of Looking Sideways is an interesting read for anybody, whether you’re as much in love with design as me or not
  36. That book showed Alan Fletcher at his absolute best
  37. Curious about everything, and using that curiosity about everything to make great graphic design
  38. He understood, so well, that inspiration can come from anywhere and because of that we should be interested in everything
  39. I’ve taken that into my own career, and I’m endlessly pursuing new knowledge and experiences to help fuel inspiration for my design
  40. And of course, he founded Pentagram, one of the greatest design studios out there today doing work
  41. Alan Flecher and Paul Rand were proper graphic designers
  42. Their design work was ideas lead, and it was always about producing the simplest design work possible to execute that idea
  43. They didn’t gradients or flashy effects to do any of that, and it wasn’t available to them even if they wanted it
  44. They relentlessly searched for interesting ideas, and new ways of looking at problems that had already been answered a thousand times
  45. They really were on the cusp of when graphic design started to establish itself as a real profession
  46. When sometimes they’d be called commercial artists
  47. There’s just something magical about that era
  48. Something that’s better than now
  49. I could put it down to a feeling of nostalgia
  50. But I didn’t live through that era, so there’s no reason for me to remember it fondly
  51. I think the reason why I love old graphic design so much
  52. Design like Alan Fletcher’s and Paul Rand’s
  53. Is because it was just pure
  54. It wasn’t diluted in any way
  55. It was just pure ideas
  56. From people who were at the top of their game
  57. Trendsetting, and doing a job that was very new and had very few precedents set
  58. And there’s definitely something magical about that
  59. MUSIC
  60. This was AADA, and I’m Craig Burgess
  61. Music featured in this episode was:
    1. Whiteout by Little Glass Men
    2. Clover by Little Glass Men
    3. Westside Chillers by Little Glass Men
  62. For a line by line rundown of this episode go over to …/ep142
  63. If you want more updates about my podcast, follow me on Twitter at craigburgess
  64. I’m back tomorrow

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