A Poetics of Graphic Design?


  • Steve Baker


There is a continuing dissonance between the history and practice of graphic design. In particular, the stylistic experimentation and political engagement which has characterized some of the most influential developments in twentieth-century graphic design practice has not found an equivalent in the ways in which the subject’s history has been written. Even when the restrictiveness and bogus neutrality of design history’s conventional linear narratives have been recognized and criticized, little has been done to develop a more "spatial" writing, a writing which moves — at least at a poetic or metaphorical level — closer to the image. This article proposes that the work of the French feminist writers Hélène Cixous and Luce Irigaray could serve as the basis for devising a more imaginative form of critical writing which might help to draw the history and practice of graphic design into a closer and more purposeful relation.