July 1, 2012

in search of the miraculous

From the Atlantic's review of the new book, In Search of the Miraculous or One Thing Leads to Another, by designer of icons, Milton Glaser

Although he has written considerably about the nature of design, Glaser says "in this book I've reduced what I've learned to a few hundred words. My sense is that I'm doing less 'showing off' and more 'passing things on'."
The Zen theme of one idea leading to another on a continuum of creative activity derives from Glaser's observation that "there doesn't seem to be such a thing as an unconnected event. Certainly, in my own life and work, the inevitable consequence of one thing influencing another is apparent. Of course, you only have time to realize this retrospectively."
For his exhibition, Glaser created an accordion-folded "Users Guide" to understanding examples on the wall. The book version is more akin Ways of Seeing by John Berger, a critic whom Glaser deeply respects "and who has certainly influenced my thinking." The book uses some of his favorite work as examples of what Glaser believes are the most fundamental issues of design: "intentionality and consequence."
"We're clearly at a point in human history where the idea of unrestrained competition and a 'dog eat dog' atmosphere are no longer beneficial or relevant," he says. "This shift has certainly affected my view of a designer's role in civilization and culture, and made me more concerned about the consequences of my daily activity. My two prevailing beliefs are still: Do no harm. Do good work."

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