The Next Great Work of Design

This will hardly count as news because we’ve only discovered the first season of this great entertaining show Work of Art: The Next Great Artist while the second is already on but entertaining it is. Episode three involved a design task which we consider worth mentioning, especially because of its overall uplifting conclusion.
If you don’t know, Work of Art is a reality show about artists trying to make it through a series of timed tasks – sort of like the shows about fashion designers and cooks, only fun. And for one of the tasks the sculptors, painters, performers and a waitress were supposed to design a book cover for a Penguin classic. (Note: sorry for bad quality screenshots.)

The fact of including a design task was actually a little alarming: it chimed right in with the world telling us day in day out “Everybody can design, just give them a week to learn Photoshop” but the conclusion gave us a warm self-righteous feeling. Those people, most of whom have – sometimes mad – artistic skills are no graphic designers.
The winner, John Something, created an okay image with bad typography. It had little to do with the book but the picture was colorful and attention-attracting enough to work, especially given the poor level of the challenge. The cover, which apparently exists, would probably stand well enough in a bookstore.

A runner-up of this challenge, which has something good going for it but not nearly enough, with the dripping blood overkill:

Here are the only two pieces of actual design produced: Miles’ (whose clumsy ruffled-Brad-Pitt-look has made him one of our favorites) typo and the name of the author on the other one.

And here are our least favorite contestants and their work:
The “I-read-synopsis-but-they-didn’t-spell-the-author’s-name-right-no-wait-it’s-just-me” Blonde Barbie Doll – because romance has to be about nudity, right, and what’s with the bowler?

The “I’m-really-damn-good-with-water-media” Christian Barbie Doll (she looks like transported straight from the second season of True Blood – and this watercolor illustration is just so bad).

The “Proud-Pussy” Crazy Cat Lady who we were happy to see go.

And here’s the uplifting conclusion as promised: graphic design is not something that just happens because you’re good at a bunch of other things. It does need preparation. I wish all the clients who ever told us they’d do it themselves if they “knew the programs” could see this. Right after they’re done scrubbing dog poo off the sidewalks.
This aside, the show is the best TV we’ve seen for a while so feel recommended.

1 comment
  1. Yes, yes and yes! I hate when people say, “Good graphic design is easy.” I can understand why they would think this: good design actually LOOKS easy (or as typographers will say: “Great typography is invisible”).

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