First Things First 2000 is a manifesto signed by 33 artists (Jonathan Barnbrook who came to UEL last semester, Irma Boom and many others – most of them absolutely brilliant and insanely inspiring!). It was first written in 1963 by 22 visual communicators. It’s about working against the massproductive world of adverts, how the market only encourages lucrative ideas and the quickest solutions. Like the manifesto says; one does not become a Graphic Designer to sell dogfood or diamonds.
Being a rather loud and uncompromising humanist the world of graphic design seems like a mad place to me. The first thing we were told, on our first day in our first year in uni was that we were expected to “produce produce produce”. This was to happen “now now now”. First day comes first and then comes the rest and I’ve grown to realise that making a living as a graphic designer will be a battle between my will to work and everything I believe in. I swear solemnly that I will spend my two remaining years training to be cunning enough to get through the obstacle race that the remaining 40 years of my working life will be without selling my soul. I’ve printed the manifesto and hung it on my wall. Signed, of course.
It’s so encouraging to see this manifesto, and the 33 names on it, and be reminded that there are people out there who’d rather work with educating the masses on things that actually matter than making dough.