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The metamodernism of design

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Design, as it grows into multidisplinary across print, identity and digital mediums becomes more and more closer to art and the designer referred more as an artist due to the lack of clarification on the designers role as practitioner, workman, and thinker in society – both socially and economically. Therefore, this lack of clarity causes the modern designer of today to represent the leading movement of metamodernism as their work and process is engulfed in the definition of metamodernism as a whole.

Unseen at the surface of society – a designer, in whatever discipline, (but especially in digital) engages in creating solid/concrete design based on fundamentals established over decades and centuries of the practice – only to knowingly accept that the design will change, shift and morph itself whether by the bastardization of development or from the results of an AB test and the learning from data – or an update to the design after years of additional work by the same designer or a team of other designers. A concrete approach with known fundamentals to a fluid process and end result created an oscillation within itself from designing work with passion, sincerity, and empathy to understanding the unlying fact of irony that this work will inevidebly change no matter what.

To me, this experience, strategy, process and set of emotions defines metamodernism as it exists today. The oscillation between two poles (modernism and post-modernism) and having enough self-awareness to understand and accept the diffferences regardless of personal preference.

There is a constant struggle between the designer and society where the view of the designer is seen as a workman, a hammer swinger, the last stop on the creative subway. Whereas, designers see themselves as providing deeper meaning, powerful thinking and strategy behind every choice of a design. The emotive dance between the perception of the designer and the reality of the work has created an struggling paradigm between the designer as a worker and the designer as a thinker.

The value of design has always been exemplified through history as the immediate visual communication to the modern culture. Designers have been at the forefront of culture, thinking, and progression. As this progression has led society to be inundated with technology, tools and social platforms for every person on earth with access to the internet to be part of this cultural immediacy, it begins to drown out the value of the designer. But, I believe, for the designer to survive, we acknowledge not only the oscillation of our work between being the workman vs being a thinker, but also the oscillation of the perceived value within our society.