Link - In CAPS LOCK, Ruben Pater Untangles the Relationship Between Graphic Design and Capitalism

“One of the key lessons of Pater’s materialist history is how much of it happens behind designers’ backs and beyond their control. In his chapter on “The Designer as Brander,” which begins with a devastating look at slaveholders’ marks, Pater draws attention to the example of Milton Glaser’s iconic “I <3 NY” logo. Layered over the context of a mid-1970s fiscal crisis, he describes how the design supplied cover for the city’s harmful campaign to roll back social services, expand racist policing, and displace poorer residents to make way for wealthy newcomers. If, as Pater concludes, “even the work of socially engaged designers with good intentions (like Glaser) can be used to drive gentrification,” this means we need to focus on something other than intentions if we are to make sense of design’s history — and the potential for ethical and political action within it."

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