Description is a research project, which, by discussing various facets of this multi-disciplinary word, tries to insinuate and reveal certain phenomena in graphic design and related activities, hence to illuminate the unknown from afar. The eponymous publication is an aggregation of current results from this ongoing project.
A virtual forum was organized during the editing process, inviting guest speakers from different fields (architecture, linguistics, social psychology, statistics, book management, etc.) to interpret the basic aspects of the word “description.” The discussions covered different topics, including languages, methods, desires, content, scenario, standing point, black box, typology, channel, and the worship of ugliness. The interpretations are quite inspiring, from those of pattern language and building methods (architectural design), knowledge management (library science), and the conflicts between different languages (linguistics).
The invited guests have re-read and re-discovered things and matters related to the orthodox subjects from their own perspectives, re-describing the familiar in new ways. By doing so, they have endowed those things and matters with new meanings and definitions. They have also used the same method in their practices, indefatigably trying to establish their individual systems and worlds, to shape their own unique social ideals.
The core of graphic design may not be lying in the visible. We need to build individual systems at a different yet invisible level. We need to re-describe all agendas at this level, meanwhile, to demonstrate an individual utopia through output. Here, graphic design acts more like literature, more as an effective way for us to think, to question, to describe an ideal world. In Description, visible factors including typography act only as the medium for writing, in order to direct us to the invisible.