Elizabeth Glickfeld

Critical Writing in Art & Design

Sol Mednick, Art Director at His Drawing Board, 1953

Black-and-white photograph

Major Project: Design Work Book

Perhaps as a hangover from Modernism’s Utopian leanings, many designers approach what they do every day with an ethos of commitment. While many designers see design as a vocation or calling, Design Work Book is a proposal for a publication which explores what can be gained when we consider design as work. Taking into account the broad history of work in Western civilisation and including interviews with many contemporary graphic and product designers reflecting on their working lives, Design Work Book considers whether recent sociological critiques of current tendencies in employment can shed light on design as it is practised in the twenty-first century. It examines how designers are going about their work in the midst of an economic recession, in an era which is witnessing the steep decline of manufacturing in the West and when value in creative work is increasingly dependent on intellectual property. Aimed at an audience of designers and at those interested in cultural studies, it proposes a genre of publication which is at once visual and draws on the analysis of material culture.

Design Work Book also aims to consider the critical efficacy of recent activities in conceptual design. As many contemporary designers undertake projects which offer critiques of work or of systems of production, Design Work Book aims to inscribe this burgeoning field in the wider fields of both design and of human work, thereby underscoring conceptual design’s own systems of production. What then is the future of design work?

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criticalwriting.rca.ac.uk/author/ elizabeth-glickfeldrca-ac-uk

Image courtesy of Seymour Mednick