The discourse of design is obsessed with success: design problems are “solved” and gorgeous publicity shots are released along with polished tales of brilliant ideas. Weaned on the new and the novel, we tend to reduce design to looks and discuss it in effervescent prose before anyone has a chance to use it. Yet in truth the practice of design is premised on failure, and a failed design is often one in which all the wrangling, hidden agendas and vested interests that preceded it are laid open for inspection. Peter will argue for a criticism that seeks out failure, because in failure lies the key to the inner workings of design.
Peter Hall is a design critic, and senior lecturer in design at the University of Texas at Austin. He has been a contributing writer for Metropolis magazine since 2000 and has written widely about design in its various forms, including gaming, elevators, building graphics, bridges, neon lights and office chairs, for publications including Print, I.D. Magazine, The New York Times, and The Guardian. He wrote and co-edited the books Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist, Sagmeister: Made You Look and Pause: 59 Minutes of Motion Graphics. Since 2006 he has been vice president and co-organizer of DesignInquiry, a non-profit educational organization devoted to researching design issues at an annual gathering in Vinalhaven, ME.
The School of Visual Arts MFA Design Criticism Department presented “Crossing the Line: The 2010 D-Crit Conference" organized by graduating D-Crit students at the SVA Theatre in New York City on Friday, April 30 2010.