Design practise in context 2, ken Garland notes.

Born in 1929.

Ken Garland (1929 – ) studied design at London’s Central School of Arts andCrafts in the early 1950s.

That makes my current age 81. I have been for all my working life a graphic designer, but also a I’ve had a design practice in my own name as Ken Garland and Associates since 1962photographer and also for I think an equal amount of time a lecturer in art schools, subsequently universities.. Before that I was art editor of Design magazine from 1956 until 1962. I studied at the Central School of Arts and Crafts as it then was. I left there in 1953…or ‘54

Garland was responsible for all the print work, publicity material and catalogue design. One of the first things him and Edward Newmark did was persuade James Galt and Company Limited that the toy side of the business be known as Galt Toys. Over the course of time he worked for them Garland also began to design toys for Galt Toys, including the popular game Connect. Garland continued to produce work for Galt Toys until 1982.

First Things First 1964 manifesto

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The First Things First manifesto was written 29 November 1963 and published in 1964 by Ken Garland. It was backed by over 400 graphic designers and artists and also received the backing of Tony Benn, radical left-wing MP and activist, who published it in its entirety in the Guardian newspaper.

Reacting against a rich and affluent Britain of the 1960s, it tried to re-radicalise design which had become lazy and uncritical. Drawing on ideas shared by Critical Theory, the Frankfurt School and the counter-culture of the time it explicitly re-affirmed the belief that Design is not a neutral, value-free process.

It rallied against the consumerist culture that was purely concerned with buying and selling things and tried to highlight a Humanist dimension to graphic design theory. It was later updated and republished with a new group of signatories as the First Things First 2000 manifesto.

It lashed out against the fast-paced and often trivial productions of mainstream advertising, calling them trivial and time-consuming. It’s solution was to focus efforts of design on education and public service tasks that promoted the betterment of society.

The influence of the manifesto was quick to reach a wide audience and was picked up by The Guardian, which led to a TV appearance by Garland on a BBC news program and its subsequent publication in a variety of journals, magazines and newspapers. It was revisited and republished by a group of new authors in the year 2000 and labeled as the First Things First Manifesto 2000.

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