Good Design and Bad Design

The lecture today was a personal view on good and bad design by Jonathan Baldwin. My initial thoughts of it are that it was very interesting and inspiring. It looked back at childhood memories, of playing Cowboys and Indians and how our perception of a race of people as “the baddies” can be clouded by what we have been brought up believing in through films, stories and play. Ladybird Books containing images from the 1960s, have been used in schools over the years (and I can remember them well) showing what was considered the typical middle class family with males and females in stereotypical roles all looking very harmonious. These books have influenced children for many years into believing that this was the “normal” life to live.

It then looked at the toys and games we played as children and how there were and still are toys for girls and toys for boys e.g the whole “doll” thing for girls and the more action stuff for boys and how that has a role to play in shaping our lives. There was no way my son (as a small child) wanted to play with dolls even though he had the opportunity both at home, playgroup and nursery. He was always drawn towards action, construction and physical play. I don’t think that we are shaped from influence or “nurture” alone but “nature” plays a large part in running its course in many cases.

I enjoyed the “experiment” suggesting that “Women Can’t Count” as it made me focus intently on the film being shown. I managed to count the basket ball passes in the film and I actually spotted the gorilla walking through the set but there were quite a few students who managed to miss the gorilla (well someone dressed up as one) in the film! The point of it was to show the importance of looking around, becoming involved with society and the world around and take the blinkers off. I feel that I try to do this and like to believe that I am open to ideas, look and think more deeply than what is on the surface and of course that I can count!

Pizza and take-a-way fliers were shown as good examples of graphic design not because of the typography or imagery but because they communicate the message well and we know as consumers what we are going to get when we order a pizza or take-a-way. I keep a stash of flier menus in my kitchen, they are useful, easy to read and satisfy a need from time to time so who can complain?

I’m not entirely convinced that when a piece of design e.g. the London Underground map is put in a museum that it looses value. Should iconic pieces not be on display? Only to be looked at in books or online? I believe that they should be displayed and not hidden away even out of context “design” can still be given space to be viewed and perhaps enjoyed by the public.

There’s more to consider from the lecture so while I’m doing this, have a think about what I’ve said and let me know.

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