I was reading JohnsonBanks' Thought of the Week the other day. It was one of their Second Thoughtsies, Tina Roth Swiss to be precise. An interesting read, I'd have said the Bourbon biscuit was my all-time favourite. A couple of the questions had me self-analysing a little deeper. When did I first realise I wanted to be a designer? Tina was 7 or 8. Flippin' eck! I was in my twenties. The follow-up question was, "Did you experience anything early in your life that was a significant influence?".
That reminded me: I've been meaning to say something about The Goodies File for ages now. I think The Goodies File (circa 1974) was my earliest significant encounter with graphic design. I picked up a copy on ebay last year, for just a few quid. Seeing it again, I was not disappointed; it's a superbly crafted piece of work. Sometimes it's crafted to look crap, some of it displays cunning pastiche. Of course, much of it is just plain funny. A pre-Mac production, in those days the easiest way to mimic something hand rendered was to render it, by hand. Which means convincing authenticity. And because of that, the content is all the more engaging.
I now wonder if it was this that has made me so appreciative of convincing mimicry. It's a classic graphic design technique: you use the visual language of a profession or past time or something or other, to display empathy for a particular audience or to reflect a certain theme. I've done it plenty of times myself: a medical file for a GP's practice manager, a gold award envelope for a BAFTA member…betting slips, receipts, vitamin bottles. I love to see other people doing too. This is superb – so well crafted.
It feels less good, despite detailed crafting, when we see it online now doesn't it? Perhaps because it's more fake; the medium's different; it can't convince. We loved it for a while but now, en masse, we're turning our collective backs on feux. For a while at least. I guess that probably happened when we were only concerned with print too.
So when Michael gets around to asking me the questions (I know, it'll never happen), you know what I'll say.