Design and Religion

I believe in Design

As I am someone with an interest in aesthetics and faith a good friend of mine forwarded the above article to me.

Look at this excerpt:

“Historically, graphic design has found plenty of room for the ineffable in its theories. Not to demean either religious belief or Modernist principles but many of the historic (and contemporary) rationales for graphic design activity have been based more in faith than evidence. Gestalt principles are still unencumbered by objective verification, to name just one. Graphic design’s traditional emphasis on rationality and neutrality immediately seems to portend a conflict with a sensibility that highlights transcendence. Of course, rationalism has resided in cooperation faith for centuries, despite events in the recent past.

I count it as no surprise that my experience critiquing religious content in student work has gone without contention or awkwardness. Students do question my ability to evaluate their work at times but never due to my personal spirituality or lack thereof (that I simply possess a contrary taste is far and away the leading complaint). If anything, I’ve been regarded as a fellow congregant as I’ve addressed the content with the same verve I do all material.

With eight years of nun-directed Catholic grammar school in my past, I’m quite conversant with the themes of Christianity, so I have a leg up there. However, I’m just as ready to take on — and welcome for my own education — design work based in other faiths. If I’ve articulated a common critique it’s that a student’s work isn’t passionate enough. That appraisal pretty much goes across the board for student (and professional) work. Most graphic design suffers from an impersonality and detachment that resists audience interaction. For religious work, such an approach is distressingly mortal (bring back the Latin Mass!).

Overall, I’m not expecting any special insight about graphic design and faith. In practical terms as a teacher, I seem to have it covered. But I wonder sometimes about the absence of public discussion about the topic, no more or less than any other intangible but heartfelt influence upon creativity. And never mind about touching someone’s heart with graphic design — what about their soul? Is anyone making the attempt? “


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s