I’m not sure why Rick Poynor is picking a fight with me


By taking this one quote, very much out of context, he’s making it seem as if I’m somehow arguing against the very thing I’ve spent much of my career trying to support, which is the central role of the trained designer in improving user experience. He also seems to believe I would somehow underwrite the essential vacuity of the consultant class, when nothing could be further from the truth.

I’m upset at this sort of cherry-picking simply because it’s intellectually dishonest, of course. But more broadly, the entire piece portrays Poynor as some kind of Lone Gunslinger fighting the good fight, when the reality is that there are plenty of people struggling right alongside him to achieve the same ends.

For the record (though it will seem laughably redundant to anyone who knows me well, like insisting I really do like Citroëns, or gin and tonics, or Jane Jacobs): I regard “innovation” as an all-but-meaningless buzzword, “design thinking” as weak sauce indeed, and design itself as an indispensible desideratum in the genesis of humane products, systems and services. As I have fought and fought hard for these values, publicly, prominently, and at not-insignificant cost to my career and prospects, I very much resent any implication that I have ever either believed or acted any differently.

UPDATE: Ah, sorry. For those of you who don’t know who Rick Poynor is: among critics of graphic design, he’s definitely counted one of the usual suspects.

5 responses to “I’m not sure why Rick Poynor is picking a fight with me”

  1. Abe Burmeister says :

    Come on Adam, he’s not picking a fight with you, he’s cherry picking a quote to make a point. Get that dirt off your shoulder…

  2. jz says :

    You should punch him in the vagina bone.

  3. Nic says :

    I think he knows the games up. Graphic design has run is course, from no on it’s going to be just like ‘the novel’ or ‘photography’— an exercise in ever decreasing circles. The road to innovation lies elsewhere.

    Frankly, we all want a piece of your territory— spatial practice. Come on Rick, read Wim Crouwel through Lefebvre. It might just reconfigure your co-ordinates !—).

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  1. Rodrigo Walker - 30 May 2008

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