VC501 – Design Manifesto: Half Price Society (My Design Manifesto)

Please note that the name of the manifesto was changed from ‘Blah!’ to ‘Half Price Society’. You can download my design manifesto below:

Half Price Society: An Anti-Consumerism Manifesto (PDF): Half Price Society Design Manifesto


Half Price Society: An Anti-Consumerism Manifesto
Consumerism is dead. Advertisements are screaming at us from every angle, telling us we have to buy this product or that product, our loved ones need it, we owe it to them. Society has conditioned us into thinking like this – into thinking nothing else matters apart from the goods we buy, and the practical world it creates. Our role as the graphic designers of today is to reprogram society and reverse this conditioning through visual communication, the use of our skills and imagination.

“I don’t know where the artificial stops and the real starts” – Andy Warhol

Rebellion: Advertising has become a drone. Who needs a hundred types of Cola? Who needs so much choice? The developed countries are a fifth of the world’s total population, and we consume more than our fair share of the world’s resources. Consumerism encourages us to aspire to more than that share, regardless of the consequences. It’s time we rebelled against the machine and took the brainwashing hat off. Once we have broken all ties with it, can we move forward. Design and visual communication will be the catalyst of the new modern age, a revolution where consumerism and greed don’t exist. We, the graphic designers are responsible for facilitating this revolution, integrity and beliefs are more important than practical reward. We need to change how the world perceives design.

“It is a preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly” – Bertrand Russell

Anti-Consumerism: Design will treat consumerism like it’s unwanted sister, kept away in a draw. Science will be replaced by creativity. Designers are already creating anti-consumerist design, to oppose consumerism, consumerist advertising, terrorism and communism. It will lead to us becoming a normal functioning society. Design will be unconformative and without any rules.

“It is advertising and the logic of consumerism that governs the depiction of reality in the mass media” – Christopher Lasch

Reality: In a utopian fantasy world, of broken promises ever renewed and a state of enjoyable discomfort, we as graphic designers have a role to break away from this through advertising, branding, marketing and moving image. Through use of our creativity and problem-solving skills, we will destroy the utopia that is consumerism and create a new society free of corruption and manipulation, a new reality. We will conform to company briefs using our own ideals, not the company’s

“The world will not end with a bang, but with a Wimpy. Cheap, disposable, unhealthy consumer capitalism is collapsing under the weight of it’s own contradictions” – John Cooper Clark

Creativity: We will not conform to social consumerism and handicap our creativity. Art direction will switch to focus more on practicality as opposed to fantasy (or the ideal that is the perfect world). Consumerism tries to trick us into thinking we can attain the perfect life but it is our role as graphic designers to reprogram society by turning on the giant switch that is normality. We will show through design that we must be selfless and that no company or organisation can easily influence us. We will not dictate to consumers, or use manipulation as an art direction or creative stable, we will always retain an honesty. Psychology within graphic design will be limited – design will not lecture us. Consumers will make their own choice when purchasing goods. A world without self and non-conformation. Designs can be as simple or complex as needed. We will change the way consumers think, feel, respond and interact to design.

Post-Consumerism: Eventually I think people will grow immune to consumerism. The economic situation is helping society to change and become less materialistic and happier, if people genuinely can’t afford to buy something, then they can’t afford it – it doesn’t matter if they feel they need it, want it, that it will make them happier etc. I believe by changing our mindsets within the creative industry, retaining integrity and not selling out to big corporations that have rotten core ethics, we can help to improve society.

“Those who talk about individuality the most are the ones who most object to deviation, and in a few years it may be the other way around. Some day everybody will just think what they want to think, and then everybody will probably be thinking alike; that seems to be what is happening” – Andy Warhol

“What’s great about this country is America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all Cokes are good.” – Andy Warhol

“In  the past we branded slaves. Now we are slaves to brands” – Jonathan Barnbrook

Signed, Tyrone Duke.


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