Our first assignment was to read “The Four Temperaments in Design” by Tommi Vasko. This text lifts the notion of four personlity types (Sanguine/Stabtable Extrovert, Phlegmatic/Stable Introvert, Choleric/Labile Extrovert, Melancholic/Labile Introvert) from Kim Stanley Robinson’s “Red Mars”. The reading took those four personalities and reworked them to fit within the practice of deisgn (Sanguine Entrepreneur/Stable Extrovert, Phlegmatic Academic/Stable Introvert, Choleric Accelerator/Labile Extrovert, Melancholic Autonomist/Labile Introvert). This essay stresses the imortance of each and that each type is one part of a whole and that each is necessary to advance the practice of design (even if the industry seems to push on type over the others). It made me feel that there are issues that “good design” likely falls into the SE and CA quadrants. This his reading required me to think deeply about the character I currently play, characters I have played and maybe the character that I hope to play in the future. After reading this essay we were required to develop our own anonymous designer/character either based on ourself or someone else.
// Reading Notes Dump //
How do I make this character an “other” to myself because even if my temperament remains the same, the way that I see and have seen myself will change over time as I grow, learn and experience more that life has to offer. Maybe in the future I will seem so strange to the character the I am currently playing. Maybe I am already some strange “other” to a character I have played in the past. Is it possible that I am already some sort of “other” to the friends I have had since childhood? Especially those who have not seemed to change. Although maybe they have changed as well and I am yet to notice the new character they are playing.P30–31
In regards to design, I feel as though graduate school has poured into me a new way of thinking about design. Looking at design from the standpoint of research. I hope to work towards having the knowledge to author my own work. Work that is meaningful and timely. But on the flip side the pursuit of knowledge seems so daunting. I it feels like an insurmountable task, an unscalable mountain. Especially when getting high and checking out is so much easier. And that doesn’t even take into consideration the feeling of inferiority or “imposter syndrome”.P32
How are power and violence intrinsically related to design? Is it that we are the tricksters that give faces to capitalism. Because it can be assumed that power and violence come from control, and control generally come from the control of capital. But if it weren’t for us, the merry band (brand?) of tricksters would it be so easy for corporations to hoard wealth (especially in the overly designed and calculated world of the online startup that is currently killing local businesses). We so often talk about “good design” without stopping to think about what good means. When so often good in relation to design is based on being good in a formal sense — a formal sense that also fits within the Eurocentric design — without ever considering what being good means from a formal sense. Advertisement for lotto tickets can be formally good while also being morally reprehensible (even if profits go to education).P33
SE: Stable Extrovert
The extroverted, influencer designer who loves #tacos and hates #inserttrendingpoliticalthinghere. May do things for good, and I believe does good things but at the end of the day it all feels like inauthentic marketing, EVEN WHEN they are promoting something of value. Maybe this is due to their status/visibility or maybe they have always been an actor of some sort.
CA: Labile Extrovert
Shit, maybe this is the thing that I hope to be, although I am not sure I am intellectual, experimental or active actually live in this group. This group in its purest form is likely the type to be producing shitpost memes about the SE sect and the fact that they are constant in marketing mode (shit, maybe this is me). The is also the “fine art” sect or at least they want to be as much as a designer can be a fine artist. I think I aspire to this but am too confined by both a suburban upbringing and cloistered life of small boxes.
PE: Stable Introvert
Wait, maybe THIS is the ultra intellectual group that seem so far away from where I stand. Not just the type to speculate or muse about the handful of things they know, but instead the type with the deep knowledge to actually teach you something or to actively effect change through knowledge and design labor. I wonder if I will be able to break into the academic world, to become a professor without this as a strength. How little PE is too little to be barred from the gilded walls of academia? Am I too stupid — or put more eloquently — not “well read”.
MA: Labile Introvert
The true outsider that the CA secretly wants to be. Is this group constantly questioning why they are a designer or how they fit into the oppressive, capital bound system that design can often be? Maybe this is the most pure form of design, the ultra DIY, bottom-up sect that is not concerned with wealth but instead with connection with others through design and personhood. I wonder if I am am or hope to be a little bit of this person too.P36–37
It makes sense that the vast majority of the design community/industry is tied to the SE quadrant, I wonder too if that is why I find it so damaging to the ego to look at “good design” on platforms like instagram. Work that gets liked and reposted often seems so far from the work I produce making me wonder why I am even pursuing a career in design at all. I have no drive to produce work like that, but I also want to feel some of that validation. Maybe by becoming some combination of SE and CA I can make work that resonates with me and maybe others. Maybe a dash of MA to even it all out could help, because god knows I don’t read enough or with enough proficiency to fall into the PE camp. Even then, would I like what I see or would I still be chasing the coattails of those making a living on the SE track of design.P38
I am here for this combined effort and respect of each camp. I am for all groups lifting each other, in turn lifting our profession as a whole.