September 29, 2022

Shadow boxing

How’re you holding up?

Trouble concentrating? Me too. 

There’s a Czech word for that – litost. 

The author Milan Kundera caught it – “a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.” Ok, ok, so misery is maybe a bit strong (but not for many who really are in actual crisis) but I’m certainly past the early stages of an existential angst that’s gone from low-level background noise to drawing my attention to all the news about more bad news.

It seems just short of selfish to carry on caring about letterspacing or this-or-that-Hex colour, but what can you do when it seems clear so many dangerous fools have been given the keys to the car?

Decisions made in ignorance cast long shadows. If you’re not investigating issues from all the angles the depth vanishes and the flat silhouettes that appear to offer form are an illusion. And we all end up shadow boxing an opponent (or opposing idea) that is always out of reach – or that evades and shifts shape. 

I’m going to take it as given we all understand this. That a position is only defendable when you’re in possession of the facts. The kind of (self) critical thinking a design education imparts. 

Given we’re likely to see further efficiency savings across the board, I’m even more worried that the liberal arts, always an easy target for ‘savings’ – and yes, art and design learning and education – means the skills we bring are likely to be even more overshadowed and overlooked. 

Just when we need creativity and creative thinkers the most. 

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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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