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September 25, 2010 / Kuan

After Five and a Half Months…

Where have I been up to? (I hope some of you wondered.)

I haven’t been around my blog, twitter at all in the past almost half a year. Schoolwork isn’t the excuse, I had the summer to post cool discoveries. Neither is the same old saying “I don’t have time,” because I do–I have time for karate, so I should have time for posting entries on my very own blog. The reason, after thinking about it for a while, comes down to either one of the two: I haven’t paid enough attention to the design world so that I have nothing interesting to say or I have something to say, but they may not necessarily relate to design, therefore, I shouldn’t be posting them here.

Thus, I paused for about half a year, and I think it is a good time to start over again.

I have struggled with whether graphic design is human-centered in the past few months. As a student of graphic design, I consume probably more ink and paper than most students on campus. Money I have spent on buying spray printing and crafts could probably give clean water to many children on the other side of the world. Most of my projects are not related to social change, but fake brands/products/events. I lost the connection between graphic design and the real world–the one who is suffering from crises.

However, that is just one side of the argument. I looked at what designers have done for Haiti; I saw graphic designers involved in many aspects of community and humanitarian work; I understood the power of graphic design in society; I knew that many design movements resulted in social change. What I can do to be helpful to the society as a student of graphic design? becomes the core of my inquiry.

Though an answer hasn’t been fully reached, I’ve concluded the following possible directions that one can take to become a more-responsible graphic design student.

  • Focus school projects on humanitarian issues: instead of a design a logo for a beer company, do one for an activist group
  • Print less, draft more: the more version of computer drafts I do, the fewer times I need to correct my print-outs
  • Read more about things other than design: there are so many interesting things out there, design is cool, but finding out stuff that inter-related with design is much cooler–it becomes the coolest when others haven’t realized that relationship
  • Design less, but better: do fewer projects at a time, but do them better. I found out that it takes more time and energy to finish a project that I care about, and such  a project has a better chance to touch others

I love, love, love graphic design, after all. I won’t give it up, although I’ve lost my directions. I think there are infinite potentials in this field, and I’m just too inexperienced, and ignorant that I’ve overlooked many of them. As long as I do what I love and love what I do, chances are, I will achieve that I want.

I just finished watching this incredible documentary on dolphin slaughter in Japan, The Cove, set aside the breathe-taking content, I was touched when one of the producers said that social changes are always led by an passionate individual.

I was encouraged.


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