23 Apr Milton Glaser a graphic design icon
Buddhist sense, allowing you to focus on what you have in front of you because otherwise you could not experience reality.
Jad Limcaco, creator of Designinformer had a unique opportunity to interact with the most influential designer of our era and through a pleasant chat to inquire about the experiences and recommendations of Glaser to share with everyone. So with Jad’s authorization, here is the translation of the interview he did in English. Thanks Jad!
DESIGN AND ART
Well, I’ve thought about that for a long time. Let me give you a summary of what I have learned during my life. Art has a specific purpose since without it, it would not have survived. That purpose is the survival of the species. Art is the mechanism that helps to survive. Someone may ask: How does art help survival? The detail is that it makes you aware. When you see art, you are attentive. I always tell this story to explain myself:
When I was 17 years old I once sat at my mother’s kitchen table and decided that I would make a portrait of her. At that moment I looked at his face in my head “you know how the mind acts when you decide to draw something” and I realized that I did not have the slightest idea of how to detail it. It was precisely at that moment when I decided to draw her that I became aware of her appearance. Over the years I had become immune to what my mother looked like, just as we become immune to everything around us, particularly the things we experience on a daily basis.
So my conclusion is that the true function of art is to become aware to see what we have in front of us and understand reality, contrary to the use of previous concepts we have of things. In this way art works in a Buddhist sense, allowing you to focus on what you have in front of you because otherwise you could not experience reality.
My definition suggests that you can not catalog art solely because of the virtuosity of the medium, or function, or anything else except for the fact that it elevates your consciousness to such a degree that it captivates you. So if something captivates you, be it a drawing, or someone preparing a cheese sandwich, we can call it art at least in my opinion. I have no other criteria for judging what art is. And I certainly do not have the madness or the perversion of the art world or its experts, but if something captivates me and modifies the perception of reality. Such is the case when you see a landscape of Cezanne and you realize that it allows you to see something that you were not aware before. He has made you aware of what is in the landscape through that painting. So if something manages to make me feel that way, I classify it as art. If a great painting in a museum does not achieve that feeling in me, then it is not art.
Art is functional because it has a purpose. But from time to time it transcends it. If the design captivates you then it is art. If you look at a poster or a drawing by Lautrec and both captivate you, I would say that both are art, despite the fact that the first one is cataloged as a design and the second as art; just because it was made with oil paint on a canvas. In this way the poster and the drawing can captivate you, so we can say that the two works are art.
In that way it is not the experience or some functional element in itself, but rather if the art can captivate you.
DESIGNERS AND COMPUTERS
“Graphic designers should not use a computer until they are 40-45 years old” -Milton Glaser
Well it’s more or less like a joke but not quite. The detail of the computer is that it is such a powerful tool that like all tools it changes your perception of what is real, what is adequate, what is pleasing, what is proportional. Like pencil, watercolors or crayon, all these tools change the way you think about what you are doing. But the computer is so powerful and has such a dramatic effect on the perception of what is real and proper, that you have to be very careful not to dominate your sensibilities. When you see a work done by computer is the result of the supremacy of the tool on the aesthetics or the user’s criteria.
“So I think you must have strong values about the treatment of shape, color, shape and meaning before using a computer, but it will completely dominate you”
THE DESIGN PROCESS
Well that’s a difficult question, and I know that they define it and execute it as a process, but it’s much more than that. The point is that all those things already exist in your brain so the question is how to get to them and how do you think that is your personal process.
For example, if you think it takes two days to make a logo, and you have to make sketches, and studies, and look at it several times continuously, with a fixed gaze, whatever the process if you think it works for you, that’s perfect. And that is your method, and that belief supports you. If you think you can make a logo in twenty minutes because your mind already has the ability to quickly relate information and function then you will make a logo in twenty minutes.
I now depend on my subconscious to do most of my work because I have spent many years working consciously to put my mind in shape so that it works without me thinking about it. So my process is quite vague. Sometimes I start something, I do it immediately and it’s over. Sometimes it takes me weeks because I feel it is not going well. And I realize that you have to work in this way regardless of what they are paying you, because if you are paying a lot of money, you think you should invest more time working. If you are paying little, you think you should invest little time working on that. However, I think the opposite. Low-income jobs are those that have the greatest potential to be creative, because the people who are paying you uncharacteristically in the corporate world-also want more control over what you are doing. As a result you have to meet their needs much more than your own as a designer or even the needs of the same project. So I could say that my process is random, and that I depend on 60 years of experience. So I have a lot of information so my job is to get it out.
A GOOD LOGO
Well, that’s so boring. Logos Do you know why much is said about it? Because that’s where the money is. Making a logo is one of the most boring tasks of the design profession. There are many other things more interesting.
One of the icons of international graphic design, the lessons of a veteran in the trade, created the well-known symbol for I love New York. Glaser’s style is characterized by eclecticism and is influenced by numerous sources, although it has always given illustration a great importance.
When making a logo you have to make it memorable, fresh, you must make it familiar enough so that people do not reject it. You do not have to make it very complex, have an internal joke, you should make him feel that he sees it for the first time maybe they can not understand it well. Then in a fraction of a second they can understand it, because that moment between perception and understanding is critical, and when you see a good logo you have to take a small leap to understand it. That’s the success of the “I? NY” logo because you have to translate it from the “I” that is a complete word, by? which is a symbol of a feeling up to “NY” that are initials of a site. That is the success of that logo since you have to decipher it and the good thing is that anyone can do it. You must make a logo that should be something more than something decorative, although many times that’s all you can do: it looks good on the page and many times we settle for that.
Oh I do not know. I live day to day, all I do is come every day and I hope to do something I did not know before I arrived. That is all. The future for me is only question the experience of working with geste that I like and the production of the things that I think are interesting.
YOUR BEST WORK
I have no such construct. I think my best work is the fact that I’ve been able to stay in it for so long, and still be interested in doing it. That is an achievement. It’s so easy to get bored and be indifferent to what you do, and the fact that I can still have the enthusiasm and expectation of a day’s work is really my best achievement.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR DESIGNERS
Oh, people always ask me like there’s an answer. The only recommendation I would give is that you must have the courage and will to devote your life to design, and the enthusiasm to persist. Nothing more than that!
THE IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION
I do not even know where to start. If you are a genius, then you do not need to go to school. But there are very few gifted people in the universe. So everyone needs school as well as the opportunity to invest time learning something. I mean, you have enough time in your life to dedicate yourself to learning and that is achieved in school.
I think it is important that people follow the learning after leaving school, so that the idea of continuous development is integrated into the head. But I do not know of any self-taught genius in that field. I have never seen anyone who has told me “I never went to school because I learned everything by myself”. I do not know anyone like that. It is possible that there is someone like that, but if it is already difficult to be good having an education, I think it is virtually impossible to be good without any education. I could be wrong but I have not seen it.