Oral history: Ethics and legalities

A historical collection and study from past interviews and general knowledge of past events.

Rick Poynor – prolific designer and contributor of Graphic Design practice

Helvetica documentary clip – Neville Brody & Rick Poynor

Rick Poynor has been shown in a single clip of the documentary as people know him as being associated with the subject matter and he is knowledgeable in the field. This documentary clip raises a couple of issues, it has been taken from DVD and transferred on to a YouTube page. Ethically if you want someone to be a part of something, legally for it to be distributed the consent of the people in it must be stated before hand and they must have credibility. If they want to remain anonymous it must be stated within the piece.

Interview with Ken Garland 


This interview is subtitled in a different language so it could be aimed at different countries or types of people.

Manifesto written as an ‘idea’ of something – written very hastily, read out very ‘monstrously’ however, it has ended up as a piece of writing which recieved a lot of agreement/applause.

“First things first” was a reoccurring piece even though it was an accident. It was published in the Guardian and people in advertising disagreed with the concept it discusses. It was signed by a wide variety of people hand picked by Garland but the second manifesto was signed by established people to make it seem as a “top persons” manifesto with the aim of allowing a whole new generation of young people to be involved.

Questions asked:

What kind of problems can graphic design solve?

  • Using all our skills to go into advertising – which is a negative thing.
  • Spend a lot of time and money competing between brands which all sells essentially the same product.
  • We need a more appropriate application of funds.
  • Socialist beliefs

Is your manifesto still valid?

In the words of Garland, the manifesto is valid but at the same time it is not. “It doesn’t relate to exactly our global crisis of misappropriated of energies and funds and the most effective way as graphic designers is to take a stand not as a designer but as a voter.” As a citizen get in to your local party and do something to do with graphic design for something you believe in.

How has hearing Ken speak about the manifesto changed your thoughts about the manifesto as opposed to just reading it?

After watching the interview with Ken Garland I realise that his thoughts and the content of the manifesto supports a very valid argument. The manifesto was written more or less accidentally as a sprawl of opinions and statements which appeals more to me than if he had sat down and really thought about what he was trying to say, however, as it was written as something quick to express an opinion he really believed in I have come to realise that it has a lot of relevance to design and designers at the time as well as now.


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