The Cave, McKenzie Wark
by Richard Hollis, from Writings About Graphic Design. Occasional Papers, London, 2012.
These cards evolved from our separate observations on the principles underlying what we were doing. Sometimes they were recognized in retrospect (intellect catching up with intuition), sometimes they were identified as they were happening, sometimes they were formulated.
They can be used as a pack (a set of possibilities being continuously reviewed in the mind) or by drawing a single card from the shuffled pack when a dilemma occurs in a working situation. In this case,the card is trusted even if its appropriateness is quite unclear. They are not final, as new ideas will present themselves, and others will become self-evident.
This very short text is from Recollected Work, a retrospective of projects by the Dutch designers Mevis and van Deursen. The text is a sort of transcription produced by Paul Elliman (the editor of the book) after talking with the designers.
Read the text and consider the following:
Mevis and van Deursen describe their design practice as a game playing activity. How does this game work? What do you think of the entanglement of freedom and constraint which their description implies? How can a “living voice” be engendered in this sort of practice?
Think about your own experience as a designer. Consider a specific project — in what sense did restrictions structure the work? How might you imagine future work in which “content”, “form”, and “production” conscientiously become constraint variables which you set in order to play the game of your work?
Write and print a 100 word response on a single letter-sized sheet of paper. Use one typeface that begins with the letter “T”.