Who have the rights?


“Rick Poynor will be in Sydney”, pills to know more about this I then log in to my computer and search. I found the website of design for a better world which will be held on from the 1st to 16th of August this year. Then I did the extra online research like many of us will do. Browsing around the AGDA website, one of the organizer of the event, I found myself at the AGDA Poster Annual 2009 – Call for entries.

There you can view and vote for the poster you like, or you think the rational and the visual make sense to you. So I end up viewing most of the posters available on the site. Before I continue further about this, below are The Brief for the poster. More information about this can be found through this link.

Sampling The Future – Society is in a continual state of flux. We are now dominated by five major global conditions:

* Climate change
* Diminishing fossil fuels
* Globalised economic crisis
* Generational change, and
* New technologies

Using the poster format, demonstrate how design holds the potential to lead the parallel trajectories of business, science and society towards a common future. Judges will look for entries that best demonstrate creative thinking in regards to the points above, a progressive use of graphic design and an insight into the theme.

Majorities talks in visual language about those listed issues, few discussed about world peace, or human rights.  In the site there are some who appeared to understand the brief and have express their voice loud and clear. Others, which I thought many of them, are just following the brief and not much is said in their medium. I wonder if this is the similar situation in the real world graphic design practice. Yes we could see or take the brief as the client, and we designers will try to negotiate the goals with the client so both parties agreed.

Negotiate in this case is not only involved 1) what kind of message we want the people to hear, or 2) if the visual are clearly communicate with people, but also by asking ourselves what impact will graphic design artifacts gave to the societies?. Here I mean that the visual for example does not only contained one meaning, clearly it is contained with multi-layers of information; sign, the signifier and how or what it signified (Barthes 1957). It is there, and depending on which background of practices, culture, education etc we are from we will pick one of these meaning.

To add further in this process is, comparing to the amount of graphic design artifact out there, it is not easy to stop and think which layers of meaning that we should pick and therefore will make us understand the message. Surprisingly this process also include the work of our unconscious state of mind. We consciously didn’t get to work out the choice. It is like it already chosen for us. Could I argue and ask if the process that I have described more or less are influenced by our way of life, the way we think, the way we views the world? In this case if the answer is yes, then the next questions is who or what influenced or shall I say who prompt our lifestyle and thinking behaviors?

Is there big possibilities that the influences also might be from the constructions of concepts of identity from the community or country we come from?

For example, take Havana, in Cuba, and lets compare this to Tokyo, Japan. The city of Havana for example, one can say that the city is sort of stop moving, or stop developing when the mass communication aren’t there. There are no posters, advertisements, bill board or any sort of information for brands or products. In comparison to Tokyo, if you walk in the CBD you can be lost in your way just because of too much information are feed in you memory and distract you from focussing on finding directions. But my point here to extend from the questions I asked is what is the roles of the government in this process, who allowed the mass communication to stop or to published unlimited.

Clearly who ever have the authorities to own the mass communication in those countries also have the position to influences the societies and the nation. But what more interesting here is do people or the society have the same rights? What do you think?