Graphic Designer, San Francisco
James Bertoni, Graphic Designer
San Francisco, CA Estados Unidos
Geotypografika Interview 004 James Bertoni
What developments are you following in the world of graphic
JB I am following the development of design as it relates to the online community.
What new developments are occurring specific to your location?
JB The new developments occurring specifically in my area are online advertising and how it is being fueled by accountability as far as measuring its results unlike that of traditional print based advertising.
Given the astronomical growth (both current and especially projected) of the Indian and Chinese middle class/economies, how long before contemporary graphic design and typography finally recede from “Western” domination, and we see a new global vernacular arising? Or will we witness an inversion, where the dominant Eastern economies impose their visual vernacular?
JB Eventually as India and China continue to rise, their visual vernacular will
seep into the Western world and start to change the way in which graphic design and typography is created. Other countries have always influenced design and type.
The American “modern” look right now has been completely soaked in the German and Swiss aesthetic (Bauhaus, Ulm School, International Style), right down to the specific typefaces that embody modernity to us, Helvetica and Univers (both Swiss).
Moreover, in order to mimic a nations rise economically, other countries adapt the look of the future front-runner’s type and graphic treatments. Let me qualify this by saying that I don’t think it will be a full-scale change, but it will change somewhat over time.
How do you see yourself (or your work) involved in the global state of graphic design? Do you try and address this, for example, by searching for a contemporary voice in your work?
JB Unfortunately, I am unable to put too much of my voice in my commercial work.
I am directed to make things look modern and fresh. This usually means recreating something that has been done a thousand times before, inevitably making the work look dated despite it being approved. There are companies pushing the boundaries of what contemporary graphic design/typography can be. It does seem to me that there is always a compromise between the designer’s voice and the client. This sets us apart from the art world and contemporary voices, there are many voices contributing on a given project.
Are you optimistic about the future?
JB I am optimistic about the future, despite the fact I think print will be downsized when companies find that it will be less expensive to advertise online. Even though I love the physicality of print, my environmental concerns will probably win out in the end.
What are the most important elements/abilities for a young designer to master in today’s ultra-competitive world?
JB Learn the programs inside and out. I, unfortunately, was not taught anything regarding basic programs in school. For the first couple of years thereafter (even now), companies are more interested in knowing your efficiency with the programs, more so than any of your “big ideas.” Also, master the art of designing before you go to the computer. That will set you apart from other designers. Draw it yourself instead of copying it from Getty.
Is teaching typography and graphic design even possible at a truly global scale?
How to account for an audience of this scale beyond the model of the International Style, etc.?
JB It may be hard to teach on a truly global scale. There are too many idiosyncratic tendencies that might not necessarily be important to all cultures. For everyone to be on the same page visually and mentally seems unrealistic. There may be some things that are similar from one culture to the next, but style is always evolving and hopefully will never be the same everywhere. How boring would that be?
Are you witnessing a migration of talent to the developing markets in the East?
JB I am unaware of talent migrating to the East. Are they?
Your issues/concerns here:
JB My concerns are postcards, magazines, direct mail, etc. being sent to people’s houses and offices that will be looked at for two seconds and discarded in the garbage. There has to be a better way.