The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common: they don’t alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit their views.
Every now and then I get a student email asking about book suggestions, and I’m never all that comfortable responding with a set list. Maybe it’s because I remember what it was like being in school, going off of another designer’s advice, and feeling like a Peanuts character being spoken to by an adult. One suggestion after another going right over my head.
With that said, I’ve broken down what I typically rattle off and placed it here, hopefully saving myself some time in the future when a request comes up. We each see something different reflected back at us in the books we read, so before diving in, remember: your mileage may vary.
Bob Gill, Graphic Design as a Second Language
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
Alain de Botton, Status Anxiety
Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Alain de Botton, The Consolations of Philosophy
Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
Kurt Vonnegut, Man Without a Country
William Morris, Useful Work v. Useless Toil
Aubrey Powell, For the Love of Vinyl: The Art of Hipgnosis
James Victore, Who Died and Made You Boss?
Stefan Sagmeister, Made You Look
Robert Louis Stevenson, An Apology for Idlers
What are people who care a damn about freedom - who really care for it - think of a country and the people in it, who congratulate themselves upon this country as the finest on earth and as a “free country,” when so many of the people in this country pry into what a man’s citizenship is, try to tell him his business from hour to hour and from day to day and exert a public moral blackmail against him for not becoming an American citizen - for his political views and for not entertaining troops in the manner - in the way that they think he should. What is to be thought of a general country where those people are thought well of?James Agee to Charlie Chaplin during the press conference for Monsieur Verdoux, shortly after Chaplin had been bombarded by journalists demanding he explain his political leanings.
I don’t believe in making any divisions of people. I think that any division - I mean is very dangerous. I think that leads to fascism. Citizens are citizens all the world over…Charlie Chaplin, in response to a journalist pressing him on his decision to abstain from voting.
There’s a great documentary on Polish poster art up on Vimeo that runs close to an hour. It’s definitely worth watching, given how little footage is freely floating around out there of some of these designers discussing their craft.
I yanked a few quotes from film directors and artists that really stuck out.
"We didn’t interfere. It was their point of view on our films."
"It wasn’t commercial like nowadays. It was an artist’s point of view. The more personal - the more valued."
"It’s a new censorship. Something is commercial or isn’t. "That’s very nice, but it won’t sell. We won’t do it.""
"There’s no patronage, only advertising."
A rowdy bunch if there ever was one.
Behind the Poster can be seen here.
“In my opinion, the most ordinary things, the most common and familiar, if we could see them in their true light, would turn out to be the grandest miracles … and the most marvelous examples.” - Michel de Montaigne
"If we want to attract attention to our work, we have to go to the other extreme. We must take a careful look at the real world and, in effect, say to our audience, “Look! have you ever noticed this before? Even though it was right under your nose.” That, to me, is more exciting than the most amazing special effects." - Bob Gill
Made this RoboCop piece for Silver Screen Society's Criterion month.
Made this L’Argent piece for Silver Screen Society's Criterion month.