After reading Milton Glaser on Shepard Fairey and Plagiarism from Print magazine, I couldn’t help but think wow – what a bunch of hypocrites. But not for what you might be thinking I have a problem with. I’m not going to try to convince you of one artist’s technique of interpretation. If you’re not a fan of how Shepard Fairey uses his voice, nothing I can say is going to change your opinion. What I take issue with is that Milton decides to speak up now about it. “It’s just too close to the original observations of the photographer. It doesn’t seem clean to me.” Fair enough – but surely he’s felt that way before. Why not feel the need to call out every single designer that he doesn’t think has done something right. I have a big problem with the selective moral authority that is all too common. If you’re going to make an example of one person, I’d hope he’d take the time to call out his friends and others that in the past that deserve the same moral lecture yet somehow b/c they’re well known in the old graphic design community, people just don’t bother saying anything. I find that completely hypocritical.
That brings me to Print magazine. Again, the number of design people that they celebrate on a monthly basis with out any critical attention is kind of interesting. If they’re going to get all moral, maybe they should sharpen their focus outside of fluff and talk more about designer’s influences, sources and getting real about the fact that nothing is original anymore. I think Fairey is an easy topic for them when compared with brand name designer that they typically pull quotes from. They would never turn the tables on the people that they rely on for “authority”. The reason why 95% of mainstream design writing can’t be taken seriously is that without the recognized name quoted in the story, there’s little substance left. Conventional thinking is that if you at least have a name quoted that people recognize it must be correct and significant. While I don’t hold much hope that things will change anytime soon w/ publications that rely on the same patterns to create a story, the fact that they’re not the only voice now makes them less relevant more then ever.