What’s your biggest complaint about the industry? Is there anything you’d like to see more of? Less of?

Adam Tickle
From my experience, there is an awful lot of bitching. And sometimes people ask too much.

Adrian Shaughnessy
I think branding is killing design. The increasing corporatisation of design is bad, too.

Dan McCarthy
I’d like to see more drawing and less tracing.

Eric Karjaluoto
I’d like to make more money and be less stressed-out. (Service-based work is tough.)

Evan Leake
None here.

Experimental Jetset
The industry that is built around graphic design (the magazines, the awards, the institutes, the critics, the weblogs, etc) is a world of its own, and it can be quite a horrible place. There are exceptions, but in general, there is so much sarcasm and bitterness around. Critics writing cynical pieces for an audience that is already cynical. Graphic designers ripping each other apart, without any sense of solidarity. Institutes working hard to streamline the image of graphic design, so that it can be sold to the business world as ‘innovation’. It’s a world that seems built on an actual hatred for graphic design.

It’s best not to focus too much on the industry side of graphic design; it’s just not very healthy. It’s better to realize that the actual essence of this thing called graphic design is the designer itself. It starts with the designer, and it ends with the designer. That whole industry that is built around it is just a by-product.

When we think about the state of graphic design itself (not the industry around it), we are actually very optimistic. It seems that there are really exciting things happening. When we look at the students that have graduated from the Rietveld Academy the last couple of years, or the stuff that is being shown on websites such as ManyStuff, VVork and Ffffound, we get the feeling that there is something quite interesting going on.

It’s almost a punk/DIY explosion of graphic design: bold geometric forms, bright colors, large sheets of printed paper, experiments in folding. People proudly displaying posters that they made, by simply holding them in the air. Work that is unapologetically graphic.

When we were students, in the beginning of the 90s, graphic design was in a very different state. There was a coldness in the air, a certain darkness. American critics were preaching the end of print, the death of modernism, stuff like that. You felt almost ashamed to be a graphic designer. It was such a stifling, reactionary period.

Now, after ten years, we have the feeling that the frost is out of the air, and the sun has finally break through. When we look at all these young students, shaping their immediate environment in such a concrete, direct way, we feel really happy.

Clients/people that don’t appreciate the value of creativity and design. We’d like to see less of them. We’d like to see more design/artistic installations through out the city.

Flip Flop Flyin
I’ve got no complaints. I pay very little attention to what other people are doing. I suppose the only thing would be a general one: clients who don’t trust the creatives they work with.

No complaints.

George Lois
I think today’s ad industry creates deadly-dull advertising – where you can’t tell one brand name from it’s competition.

Hula Hula
The biggest problem with technology is that it makes everything faster. But, designing is not only about operating the tools the right way. It is about coming up with the best solutions, and those take the same time they have always taken. I’d like to see less filters and more of the real thing. And of course I’d like to see more time for developing projects and letting ideas mature properly.

Ian Stevenson
I find the way trends sweep across the industry to be quite tiring. I try to look the other way and get on with things. One minute everybody has started drawing monkeys, then it’s monsters and then naively drawn polaroid cameras with felt tip pens. I have to lie down sometimes and close my eyes.

Jeff Domke
I believe the entire business model of “design for hire” (consulting) is inherently flawed. Sure it makes some money, but it’s not very successful, fulfilling or profitable. Why do you think all the “graphic design rockstars” of our time leave companies and start their own?

Most people practicing design today are chumps. They are creating valuable intellectual property, selling it to companies for peanuts, and then those companies get rich off their ideas. They should start their own companies, do the same creative work, make themselves rich and be happier at the same time.

Real design is the planing and execution of change. Most graphic design today is not design at all — it is decoration. I think graphic designers should design more often. They should take responsibility for changing the world with design. I think designers should stop complaining about how they are not taken seriously and start taking themselves seriously. If they actually believed in themselves enough to plan and execute change, they wouldn’t give a damn about what other people or industries thought of them.

Justin Ouellette
I don’t have any complaints about the industry as a whole. I think any gripes I have are the kind of thing that go to the very root of the relationship between art and commerce, so I’m not holding my breath for any revelations there.

Milton Glaser
Its control by marketing experts and the decline of the demand for the extraordinary.

Followup question: How do you think we can begin to dissuade this trend?
Demand the extraordinary of yourself.

Please Let Me Design
A lot of designers are too quiet, too nice. They don’t take risk. They only try to please the client. The client is not the creative or artistic director.

Our job is to bring something new to the client. If he leads the job, that’s not going to happen.

Rick Valicenti
We have filled the world with our best intentions. However, we stand on landfills of designed crap. I would love to see more soul-stirring, meaningful, poetic, thoughtful, communication between all peoples and less behavior that is simply repellent and polarizing.

Wolfgang Weingart
Any industry is an important part of our world.

Zoe Bather
The design press. The vast majority of magazines (in the UK anyway) seem to dedicate a lot of pages to back slapping designers and not saying much more than “look at this its a new bit of design”. What would be more interesting (well to me anyway) would be opening up discussions about designs relevance to current affairs in general or encouraging more debate around new design rather than just announcing it.

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Fill/Stroke is a collection of three individuals who have always been good at collecting content, but never really good at sharing it. We formed in early 2008, and have been honored to interview some of the greatest designers of our time.

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