Tuesday, 12 November 2013


At the start of the session Richard divided us into groups in which we analysed a section of text. Our group was given a passage entitled 'Ten Footnotes to a Manifesto' taken from the book 'Seventy-Nine Short Essays on Graphic Design' by Michael Beirut. 


  • Designers are used by companies to make their useless products appealing and marketable.
  • The 'First things First' Manifesto caters to a creative audience so that it has more impact.
  • Whether we like it or not we currently live in a capitalist society driven by commerce, point six asks where we would be if the worlds best creatives decided to withdraw their inputs like the manifesto asks. 
  • The new version of the manifesto, featured in 'Adbusters' Magazine included visual imagery to support the points made in the article in an almost propagandist style.
  • The article never focuses on successful designs.
  • Designers can support a good cause without somehow supporting an evil corporation.
  • Point ten compares the 'Adbusters' magazine article to mass corporate manipulation.
  • The writer of the article admits that he works for an agency who deal with large corporate clients, and therefore his opinion could be looked at as biased.
  • Finally, in the last paragraph of point ten the writer acknowledges the problems associated with capitalism and global corporations, despite this he seems to distance himself and design from them.

Summary of points;

In modern society the majority of graphic designers are used by corporations to make unmarketable products marketable, forever propelling the continuation of a commodity driven society. The 'First Things First' manifesto was initially created by a collection of creative practitioners and students in the 60's, the collective aimed to speak out against the unstoppable force that is known capitalism. Later, in the year 2000 the manifesto was re-written and re-published in an attempt to reiterate the relevant points to a new generation of creatives still trapped within a capitalist society. However, not everybody agrees with the messages the manifesto communicates, and its not just the bosses of multinational corporations who have got their backs up, but creative practitioners as well. One designer who disagrees with the points made is Michael Beirut, who is the writer of the article my group analysed, he makes points in regards to how the manifesto has been marketed, comparing it to mass corporate propaganda. Moreover, Beirut also covers points that question what would happen to society if the words top creatives stopped supporting massive corporations. Although Beirut makes some relevant points throughout his critique of the manifesto it would seem that his opinion is slightly biased as he has worked for a selection of big corporate clients.

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