It’s Not Very Nice That
Identity, exhibition design and consultant curating
The Lighthouse, Glasgow
With After The News
I’d been chatting to Neil from After the News for a while about the way politics within graphic design is routinely relegated to being solely a matter of personal ethics, a project by project First Things First process squaring of things with your own conscience with little or no attention to how things fit into any wider political sphere. Recent work by designers such as Deterritorial Support Group seemed to explicitly reject this approach and warranted further investigation, the eventual result being It’s Not Very Nice That, which aimed to take a slice through politically engaged graphic design since the mid-2000s. Neil’s name for the exhibition also took a not so subtle dig at the politically disengaged state of much current design writing.
Keen to avoid the kind of earnest parody of protest that seems to go hand in hand with political design, the identity took the form of a handwritten message on a concrete wall give a Brechtian distance using CAD concrete texture and a ‘hand-written’ font. This distancing was carried through the exhibition, with reading room The Partisan Library (named after a New Left coffee shop in 1960’s London) taking the form of a bare-bones stage set of a ruined Starbucks.