Online services to suit everyone, multiple offers to satisfy the needs of even the craziest clients, “on request” dramatically changes our relationship to paper consumption and the market economy. Designing and printing a book – or magazine – online from dummies, layout spreads available to anyone and the vulgarization of formats and choice of paper are both a chance to discover the manufacturing process of a printed object and to produce one’s own publication. Yet, at the same time, they negate the profession of graphic designer. A déjà vu that recalls Yoann Bertrandy’s “Everyone is a Graphic Designer” (étapes 170). For laying out images and text is not just the simple application or implementation
of a formula on a support. It involves a more complex period of reflection that questions the relationship between the contents and its container. And without the expertise of a professional on the editorial and artistic aspects to help design and put it together, an object/book thus produced loses its value. The process has its limits. It freezes the budget of graphic designers and publishers by dumbing down savoir-faire. It raises questions about the status and future of a profession. It challenges the notion of creativity and research, for it standardizes formats. Together with teaching, creativity ensures the constant renewal of practices
and knowledge, the path to development and the invention of systems to continually adapt to our changing world and society. And in the present context, vulgarization and dumbing down are not welcome.
Caroline Bouige and Isabelle Moisy