Milton Glaser on business

Do you think business and industry have become more enlightened about the way design works?

Milton Glaser: Less and less. I wrote an essay about five years ago called ‘The War is Over.’ The war was between business and art. And business won. For years, designers talked about how ‘good design is good business.’ Finally, business believed it and said, ‘It’s true, and as a result of that, it’s so important that we can’t put it on your hands.’ Today design is to a large extent an extension of marketing objectives of the company. But the desire for people to be expressive and to find alternative ways still comes bubbling up from below. On the professional level, though, designers are entirely in the service of industry. This ethos of money, which basically says that anything that doesn’t turn a profit is irrelevant, is more triumphant than any other time in our history. But it doesn’t mean it’s not on its way out. It just means for the near future this idea that the reason you design anything is because there’s a financial reward in it, is the prevailing idiom.

— Milton Glaser (via Graphis #331)