Unfortunately, the least innovative and the most dominant narrative of Graphic Design are one and the same. I was going to tweet that, but anything I tweet now demands some more lengthy explanation (the inherent problem with twitter) or I will face only critical backlash rather than spawning a discussion that benefits all parties. Really though. Shit is boring. I'm not saying all of it isn't worthy or isn't designed because it totally is. It is the basic, minimal amount of design possible. It has the posture of anti-modernism. It's these templates picked from this pool, this cache of typefaces, this type of image treatment, and so on. For everything. It's necessary because we're making it easy for everyone to get a hold of this formula. We've brought graphic design as close to the public as it can get yet there are still those that would still insist in the supremacy of a designer over the public. WE CAN'T LET THEM HAVE THAT MUCH POWER, GASP! Of course this kind of contradictory behavior has been around for a long time in academic design. I guess I'm sort of a half-breed of that world. The internet makes up for what could not be bought from a University. That's another reason there are so many image makers now. Access to the knowledge, history, tools is at it's peak. Needless to say, I think we're worrying about the wrong things.
I recently watched a DVD reel of early Hi-Res websites and the way that UIs were imagined when we didn't have Gmail, Google+, Facebook, iPhones or Apple to mutate from was incredible. They were diverse, they tried (and sometimes failed) to engage the whole of our senses, they were playful with form but never strayed from what the content demanded. You get older and you start to figure this stuff out. I think it probably became apparent to many designers at this same point that I am at in my career. I can tell that it is apparent to some students and image makers that don't understand sites like Manystuff when all they know is the photoshop underworld of Tumblr. We need our underworld and I think it's terrible to see one narrative valued and pushed forth when another is not. Walking through the Graphic Design: Now in Production exhibition at the Walker Art Center it became apparent that this is just one side of a very splintered, complex story. The blurry underworld is missing. And if it is acknowledged it is only skimming the surface. Are Anonymous not designers pushing against the frontier of the web? Isn't Bitcoin a fantastic example of currency design? Isn't the tent one of the most important symbols of society in 2011/2012? If a tool is measured only by the platforms given to us by the status-quo, is it really all that innovative and can we still be talking about capital-Design?
This is all to suggest thinking outside of everything in order to keep the game interesting for all, forever, for the future.