Getting through my list of things to read, this article from AIGA written by Aggie Toppins had me nodding along throughout.
The article begins by talking about the challenge of thinking about the culture and forces that brought around a movement (like modernism) when what we are really taught about are the perceived “heroes” of those movements. This was certainly true when I was in education; we would always be reaching for the next Neville Brody, Paul Rand or Ken Garland piece to discuss and inspire us; rarely, in any meaningful way at least, would we be taught about the surrounding environment (or who they worked with) which bore their work.
What really hit home is towards the end of the article where the author discusses a disenchantment with modern design practices and how designers are longingly looking back to a history where the individual creator ruled; a history which, you could argue, is a fabrication.
“And yet, before the computer, designers relied on analogous trades to realize their plans. They worked with typesetters and printers, for example, to produce a single artifact. Design has always been controlled by outside conditions; labor has always been collaborative. Many prominent designers, even if gifted leaders, were supported by teams who created value for their businesses.”
The best experiences you have as a designer / maker / human being will rarely come from something you’ve done solely as an individual but something you’ve done with others. I can certainly relate to this.