In visual culture generally, and in graphic design in particular, idea of originality was intertwined with the vision of a definitive and irrevocable deviation from overly abridged past. The nihilist views on existence and the need to reevaluate and reconceptualize has become an indispensable part of visual culture, theoretically as well as practically. With regard to graphic design, the originality and independence of it is questionable (Donnelly 147). The following paper is aimed primarily at exploring the issue of graphic design in terms of originality, reproduction, and aesthetic value that can be attributed to it.
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Whether graphic design can exist on its own or is a perpetual reflection on any given event is largely the matter of graphic design philosophy. To understand graphic design, one needs to accept it as an art form, and the mimetic nature of it, at that. In addition, one needs to fully understand that art is produced with some purpose. The imagery that visual art – and graphic design – creates is powerful, blatant, and scandalous at times, which is mainly determined by the purpose of it and because it is at all possible to visualize freely.
Under such circumstances, graphic design can smother the viewer in venom, as it does in the case of propaganda (Heller n.pag.). The venom can be partially explained by the fact that artists seldom work in peaceful conditions, either external and objective or strictly internal, especially graphic artists. The works are either created in some historical or cultural settings or are the result of the artists’ inner concerns that might take catastrophic proportions (Smiers 238).
This just about summarizes the reasons art can be regarded as one provided that it has a purpose. The purpose of art is to mime in a sense that Aristotle subsumed, just as the purpose of the artistic media is to reflect to the movements of socio-political surroundings.
The issue of reconceptualization and reintroduction of designs as contribution to the originality is densely intertwined with pop culture. Indeed, no art can be considered as massive as pop art. To estimate the nature and status of pop art in relation to originality, it is needed to define whether the value of art and imagery is decreased in an inverse proportionality with its popularity. One of the important points of consideration here is that art in mass reproduction – for example, in advertising – is well-nigh entirely symbolic (Gill 93).
Simplified and laconic, symbols are persistent, and it might seem that the inspiration that they cause is far from artistic. On the other hand, in what concerns advertising as a form of mass reproduction of imagery, symbols are entities powerful enough to inspire those who do not excel in their artistic dispositions despite the fact that the viewers have many chances to see such images. Another feature of mass reproduction is the influence that symbolic art has over collective subconscious.
Whether propaganda is concerned or the consumers’ decisions over this or that particular brand, pop art proves extremely powerful. As a consequence, the ease with which pop art manipulates social inclinations make it a valuable asset of the appraisal of consumerism in its glory and the tool of relentless critique.
Finally, the value that graphic art has, can be contemplated anew as many times as graphic design reintroduces itself either deploying new techniques or reviving the old ones. The concept of originality in art is that of undoubtable value; on the other hand, the boundaries between what can and cannot be regarded as original are ever so vague. First, there is the question of value of a replica as opposed to the original work.
Because there is a plethora of reproductions and quite a few original works, the value of graphic art as a single entity can be questioned, by some. The modernist concept of intertextuality can be perfectly applicable in advertising but not quite in genuine art. An original work can be regarded as a piece of art simply because it is a logical outcome of the process of creation. At that, a reproduction appears no more than a reference to the genius (Janowski 148).
Indeed, although digital tech is expanding the framework of graphics, originality can still be limited as to the ways and means it can actually be produced. However, from the aesthetical point of view, the aura of graphic art still bears the sensation and stance of the original work – for instance, the magnificence of a sculpture can still be felt when viewing a photo of it (Sontag n.pag.). The original and the reproduction overlap, which can be observed in graphic design as well, which is what makes graphic design valuable in a sense.
Thus, the concept of originality appears to be important in what concerns graphic design as a subarea of art. The originality of art is in the ways it mirrors reality, and graphic design is perfect for these purposes. In advertising and propagating, it is a means of unarguable influence, and the value of it is hard to overestimate.
Donnelly, Brian. The Inversion of Originality through Design. n.d. Web.
Gill, Leslie Ernest. Advertising and Psychology. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2013. Print.
Heller, Steven. Design Literacy: Understanding Graphic Design. New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing, 2014. Print.
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Janowski, James. “The Moral Case for Restoring Artworks.” Ethics and the Visual Arts. Ed. Elaine A. King and Gail Levin. New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing, 2013. 143-154.
Smiers, Joost. Arts Under Pressure: Protecting Cultural Diversity in the Age of Globalisation. London, UK: Zed Books, 2003. Print.
Sontag, Susan. On Photography. London, UK: Macmillan, 2011. Print.