It is hard to talk about something that we do everyday, often without thinking, and give it a concrete definition. To accomplish anything requires that we put some conscious or unconscious plan into action. According to Victor Papanek this meant that everything we do is, at its most elementary level, a form of design. What makes something a useful design is where conscious, purposeful decision making comes into play. The question then is, what does design as an art mean?
What I've always believed is that we cannot create anything. To do so would require the ability to make something out of nothing, and something that is also outside of the ingenuity of the human mind. This would be above and outside of ourselves. What we can do is discover and reorganize the material we already have at our disposal. Design is where I believe we can do just that. By that definition all art, and all manners of purposeful action and problem solving are facets of design.
Papanek believed that, purposeful as it is, design should serve some higher purpose that would most efficiently progress human life. Anything less would be wasteful and senseless.
With all this in mind I tried to create compositions that are as purposefully organized and placed as possible. Aside from the layout I drew on the meaning of the quote and highlighted the words "design is order" and "design is meaningful". This is because I believe that design is the ordering of preexisting material or situations, which allows for the meaningful and efficient means to an end and a future.
The process of the letterpress itself was, while interesting, very stressful. The current setup which we have available to us at this time does not allow for efficient means of production, especially with the number of people needing to use it at once. With the large amount of people, the whole operation ends up becoming a pressure cooker with the person behind you in line rushing you to simply be finished. I soon found out that this was just not something you can rush and do right. It's complicated, dirty, and very slow going. Setting the chase does not involve any form of logic, no matter how simple the composition is. I tried quite a few times and it seemed that no matter what I did the edges of the type printed ragged, which I was not expecting or hoping for. Nevertheless there were a few that were less ugly around the edges and the counters, so... partial success it is!
That being said, I understand that it is what it is, and that the current resources available to us will not allow for a smooth operation. As it is, I probably won't be chomping at the bit to get back to the letterpress any time soon. Sorry Marty... I at least have a basic knowledge of how to work the thing.