There was a time when graphic design was about high ideals: improving people’s lives; providing safety and guidance; defying capitalist greed; saving the world. We could use some of that today. The world has become so complex, and the flow of information so overwhelming, that it would be really helpful if designers used their skills to expose its mechanisms — daring to be funny, incisive and irreverent. But most of us cannot cope with so much content. We lecture each other about kerning, M-dashes, apostrophes and Comic Sans. Students revel in cool Klein blue and hipster irony. Professionals complain about the fonts in iOS 7. We consume as if our lives depend on it. Have we painted ourselves into a corner, or can we still design our way out?