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Grafica e comunicazione

The past few months, in the Helvetika offices, have been months of silent, incessant work. The silence, ore more specifically the long interval between the last “Snapshot” or newsletter and this one, is due to the degree of commitment we have dedicated to our clients (who we will never stop thanking for the trust and esteem that they show us every day), as well as the awareness of what one of our collaborators pointed out: “Today all that people do is show off on the web, almost always in an overly-confident and immeasurable way.” I don’t think this collaborator was referring to us, or at least I hope not, but nevertheless I felt guilty when I heard the hyperbole, even if I don’t read blogs or social media (thankfully, someone else in Helvetika oversees that realm of conversation.) So I had imposed a perpetual silence: it certainly isn’t our goal to “be like everyone else.” “Show your real self” sure, but not “like everyone else”!

That is until last week when another colleague mentioned that a long silence following a period of active communication can sometimes be seen from the outside as a sign of crisis and not as a noble virtuosity. Therefore, since self-love is the greatest of all flatterers, I decided to return to writing Snapshots beginning with this one, which just happens to be a long list of the work we have completed in the past months, a blatant demonstration of self-love. The barebones list (which includes links to longer articles in the Porfolio) is followed by the real Snapshot: Advertising, but also graphic design (this paragraph is the introduction), a concise newsletter that is shamefully vain. 


Advertising, but also graphic design

Often I notice people referring to our profession pejoratively, especially in well-argued articles and essays despite that our society that is deemed to be focused on appearances, on the ephemeral, or therefore about having rather than being. Every time I think it’s true: the craft of adverting must not only compete but somehow give incentives and direct thought to the ephemeral (following or setting trends) and focus on having, rather than being, seeing as the main goal is to get as many people as possible to desire the object you are selling. So I end up thinking about this dirty and odious profession with contempt, given that my inner nature is to revolt against nature, to question, to be full of doubts and to face with world with dignity.

But every time I stop to think: damn, I’m advertising! Who cares it the word is preceded by another more noble noun, graphic designer (artist, technician or professional that is responsible to impaginating a work of prose or multimedia, from the composition to the graphics and “look” of things as mentioned before). Sure, it’s not a big deal, but I still the discomfort remains, even if it is muffled. The attenuation of the feeling is what allow me, for better or for worse, to breathe a sigh of relief and move on.

I’ve often wondered what constitutes the essence of that atom (of a graphic designer) and why I find it more noble compared to the atom next to it (of an advertiser). I believe that the value depends on the opposition of two terms, creating a sort of oxymoron.

Because a graphic designer will appeal to beauty through a sort of rigor that is governed by precise rules and mathematics, while at the same time not placing his emotional values aside;

is therefore governed by numbers, like in music, which marks the space (page) and time (the pace of the signs) generating visual harmony impressions, in the best of cases, are forms of balance, permanence, durability, as well as consonants to their innermost being - as if the page made perfect sounds in the minds of creators or readers, making a serene and magical suspension of time. The exact opposite can be said of "advertising."

17/11/2016 Filippo Maglione