I don’t like the poster either. It looks like any other graphic design trendy posters I’ve seen in the past 5 years, except for the type. :/ It’s well constructed, the rhyme is good but… It doesn’t tell me anything about avant-garde design.
Today, the world of French graphic design stood still. 21 years after it was created, the famous Festival de l’Affiche de Chaumont, a pretty select french poster festival, has cancelled one of it’s most important event. Every year, they have been setting up a big student poster competition — to show the world the quality of the youngest designers around.
This year was no exception, and 1200 posters were sent by hoping designers on the following theme: “What is graphic design ?”. Except that the jury didn’t agree to review those, stating that the quality was too poor to be taken into consideration.
On the one hand, I find it interesting that a jury might have the balls to say so, and I tip my hat to them. On the other, I’d be surprised if there were’nt any trace of a little spark of talents in those 1200 designs but maybe they’re right. They complain about the lack of creativity shown there. But what about the lack of creativity shown in the subject? Of course, as designers, we get to think about what is graphic design all the time. What it’s for, what it means, what it should be. But anyway, the box is too big and I’m afraid people didn’t get to the walls yet.
The Festival de Chaumont, as I’ve known it during my students year, is another example of those boring (yes, I use this word, sorry dear teachers) exercises — used as a leitmotiv to get things out of the students by force better than by emulation. Get your fucking poster. Use screen-printing. As a matter of fact, I never did the workshop because I didn’t feel it would fulfill my need for experimentation and creativity. It always felt like some kind of formal obligation: if you don’t do Chaumont, you’ve spoiled your year. (And as a matter of fact, I would do it now, but that’s because I’m getting old inside)
Maybe the problem is not the concentrated in the students generation. Maybe the problem is how they were taught. Or how they’re asked to respond to that kind of work. Why don’t they show up any originality? Why can’t they grasp the freedom you’re given in any subject? Does the technical abilities and creative thinking have shrinked into nothing in the past few years so that nothing good emerges from a so infinite subject as what is graphic design?
I guess not.
Sometimes it’s too easy to please a teacher and not yourself when designing something. One you’ce found the soft spot, you get to use it a bit too often. So teachers, be careful when you judge something and keep your eyes open. Teaching design is part formal thinking, creative process, and client boundaries. But the other part is using your rebellious, creative mind. Pushing away the box. Destroying it. Painting it. Well, fucking it if you’re in the mood. Because that’s what saves your sanity once in the corporate world. So teachers, tell your students to get wild from time to time. Teach them freedom and fun. Before they get stuck in a boring job.
And last but not least. If they aren’t good at design at all. If they’ll never succeed in that field. Tell them. So that they receive not 1200 crappy posters but 500 at least good work.
And students? Next year we want a Chaumont that makes us crave wih envy and jealousy and “I wish I’d done that” feelings. Kick your ass.