Retroflections on Wednesday morning

At Tuesday’s “opening” reception I bumped into Denise, who summarily introduced me to two of her volunteers as “the most active member on the AIGA website” (which I, naturally, flatly denied—“Or was,” I said) and persuaded me to do a video shoot.

I didn’t really think I was “qualified” in any way to shoot any sort of promotional video footage, but anyway, I bumped into the two volunteers again at breakfast time the next day when I was talking with some other volunteer. So they persuaded both of us to do the video shoot…

Anyway, the video shoot itself was mostly a directed interview. But one interesting thing about the shoot was the “prop” that I needed to make myself, a piece of paper with the words “I am AIGA” that I was to write in whatever style I wanted to write in. I just lettered the words onto the piece of paper.

It was a natural reaction: Lettering when faced with a request to make a simple sign. What could be wrong with that? Although I have made a few what might be called illustrations that I was quite happy with, I’m not an illustrator. There seemed to nothing wrong about falling back to lettering and calligraphy.

Yesterday, it suddenly dawned on me that I am studying inclusive design right now, and plain lettering fails entirely to even raise an awareness of inclusivity issues. (And there were inclusivity issues with the conference.) There were no translations. There were no pictures. There was not even a representation of braille, which I have become rather obsessed with. I was asked to make a sign and I simply fell back to my intuitions that I had before I entered the program.

Our professor told us that we are not really, merely students. But the fact is that I—myself, at least—am still very much still just beginning to learn.