Graphic Design Manifestos Revisited

This Master thesis is an investigation into the manifesto as a form of writing in the field of graphic design. It is a preconceived notion that graphic design is a practical profession, but the ideas behind the work is the integral part of the design process. In this way, the manifesto works as a bridge between the idea and the end product. Can the theory and the practical work together on a cohesive level?

The choice of medium to present this research is a newspaper that functions as a reference to the first avant-garde manifesto of the Futurists, printed over 100 years ago in the Italian newspaper, Le Figaro. Apart from being a platform for critical debate, this form of media functions as an informational piece projected to the masses. The newspaper is a haptic encounter which we associate with power and relevance, and gives the reader an impactful reading experience in the sphere of the printed matter rather then the internet. The intention is to bring out the content of a selection of design manifestos, so we see them as more than just pure text. The selection is based on manifestos written in the last fifty years – fifty years that present the graphic design field in its most evolving and progressive era. The reader is confronted with issues such as changes in society and culture that have had an impact on technology and thus graphic design, and topics like the design process and the application of the ideas into practice. Along with this analytical revisit to the manifestos, there is an investigation into the rhetorical styles used to compose manifestos as well as articles and interviews to help broaden the understanding of the reader. 

Graphic design manifestos contribute to expanding the practice in that they include a more direct critical engagement with the surrounding world. And it is this form of engagement that infuses inspiration and a deeper knowledge of the design practice. 

"The Manifesto Is Dead - Long Live The Manifesto"

Update February 2014: Matthew Edgar, Course Leader in Graphic Design at Sheffield Hallam University, approached me to come and talk to his design students about writing, designing and producing manifestos as part of their first and ongoing Creative Responses module.