Was rummaging around in the draws looking for a cable adapter, so as the screen could talk to the computer (or possible vice-versa) at the correct ratio and what I thought was box file full of usb-b-c-firewire-dongle-port-rgb spaghetti turned out to be a collection of the designer’s go-to inspiration – a stash (possibly a ‘deck’, before PowerPoint replaced overheads) of postcards, featuring reproductions of art from the galleries and museum visits.

Collecting this tiny format (for the time, barring matchbooks or stamps) was a fairly assiduous habit (at least at art college, at least with people who also made mixtapes), and jealously hoarded as a bank of oblique starting points for design projects.

Although, thinking back, I’m struggling to think of exactly how Titian helped with a corporate identity. Maybe I was just a little too suggestible to notion that ‘high art’ was always going to be the starting point – no, should always be – for anything as grubbily commercial as commercial art.

At around 0.4mm thin, nearly as thick as a pixel (well, ok, I know, I know, pixel thickness is relative to pixel size which is dictated by screen ratios) and handily pocket sized, a good collection of the right (and that would mean a knowing nod to your art history lectures, so spanning everything from the cave paintings at Lascaux, via Caravaggio to Duchamp and Beuys) occupied virtually no space – and so became indispensable when living in cramped student digs where the only storage space was usually, literally, drawing pins on the wall.

Now we have hundreds of screens ratios, and can and do spend painful hours trying to get images to fit perfectly in all of them, it occurs to me that the makers of postcards must have been busily manipulation and cropping the pictures to fit.

So while we were really thinking of how cool our collections appeared, there really was less to it than met the eye.

To borrow from Ory Rinat, head of the lobbying company (if that’s what I understand the organisation is – it seems rather more fluid than that) Urban Legend, who stated quite openly that “authenticity” means “making people believe your message is genuine, even though someone paid for it.”

Which goes to prove that being economical with the truth – or rather to find the interpretation that best suits your narrative or the space available (whether mental, physical or digital) – has always been the human condition.

“This staircase goes somewhere and it does a good job of going there,” said Xavier Corberó, of his Espai Corberó studio/home/folly/artwork. “Who cares where it goes?”

Which is about as good an explanation of my need for ‘art’ I’ve found. No sign of the f-ing monitor plug though.

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About Richard Hill

Creative director, writer, designer, illustrator based in the UK with global project experience and consulting skills across sectors.

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