Hollywood thinks graphic designers are idiots. Or at least that’s the impression you get from this supercut by Ellen Mercer and Lucy Streule, graphic design students at Central Saint Martins in London. The video stitches together TV and film clips of characters deriding the profession. The condescension is palpable: graphic designers are either portrayed as assholes or a dithering dimwits. When other people talk about graphic designers, it’s even worse. “My aunt was a fantastic photographer,” says a female doctor sympathetically to a presumably dying patient who just told her about his self-perceived design talent. Perhaps the funniest and most scathing bit is David Mitchell of the British TV show Peep Show, who sarcastically imitates a graphic designer he finds out is dating his crush. “Hello, can I redesign your logo? Yes that will be £100,000 for a squiggle,” he deadpans.
There are some noticeable trends here. One is gender: there are an equal number of women and men identified, on or off camera, as graphic designers. But many of the men appear emasculated, their work dismissed as trivial, such as the man whose friend tells him that he’s “sold out.” The lack of seriousness given to female graphic designers is more disturbing. Women are looked down on or patronized by men and women who don’t understand their profession or don’t care to try.
If anything, the supercut proves that the work of graphic design is largely invisible or inscrutable to most people. Many believe (or are portrayed by Hollywood as believing) that design is just “drawing squiggles” and requires no formal training.
It’s worth pointing out that nearly all of these clips are at least five years old, if not older. This week, the New Yorker ran a nearly 17,000-word feature on Apple designer Jonathan Ive, who is one of the most famous and successful figures in the tech world. Designers aren’t anonymous pixel pushers any more, and we’ll bet that on-screen portrayals of designers change with the times. Remember, if you will, that in the first episode of zeitgeist monster Girls, Hannah is fired from her unpaid internship. Her boss explains his choice of another intern over her with the simple statement “Julie knows Photoshop.”
[via Waxy Links]