Monday, February 2, 2009
Bill Hicks - Advertising - Back on Letterman?
Persuasive Communicators in Consumer Culture
After hearing about Bill Hicks originally censored routine reappearing on Letterman 15 years too late I was reminded of an old Hicks routine which plays forever on loop in the collective designer conscience (play the video above). As designers we have an intrinsic need to make 'things' look better. The way we make a living is by people and companies paying us to make their 'things' look better. They want them to look better so they can sell more of their 'things'. As graphic designers we are not changing or improving the function of the product most of the time. Usually the companies with the most money get to make their "things" look better than the other "things" which are actually exactly the same or worse. Hence the designer must live with conscience beater that we are part of the problem of pulling the wool over peoples eyes and not the solution. There are ways round this.. ethical client vetting. This would involve a battle with greed though for many as the paycheck would be so big the lean to say yes would be so great. It would be hard battling a conscience that essentially tells you if you don’t do it someone else will! Is this excusable? Who knows? I can tell you now I wouldn’t do it but then I haven’t had that 12 kilo gold carrot dangled in front of me.... yet. Until that point I cannot really judge anyone else. As of yet we have not worked with any unethical companies but we know the time will come and a decision will have to be made. The compromise we make is to try to balance our work of working for small companies with large companies, 50/50. Experimental with the corporate. To feed our bellies as well as our souls.
Another solution?… no design. A sort of tesco value packaging for all so visually all businesses are on a level playing field and only judged on their products merits and value. What would a world like this look like? Very bland indeed. People would actually be more confused as the reality is people like to be told what to buy rather than think what they actually need, it takes less thought. So all we ask of you is to be aware of imagery that you know is targeted at you, look past the packaging.