For review copies or excerpt permission of David’s book, Do Good
Design, or for interview requests for author David Berman, contact:
Laura Pexton, publicist [+1-510-558-4166 | firstname.lastname@example.org ]
Interviews and Articles (most recent first)
David is named Chair of Carleton Access Network [137kb] or see the story at the Carleton Newsroom
The Charlatan covered the story as well Former student returns to campus as head of IT accessibility initiative or see the story on davidberman.com
Interview with Dan Shields of CKCU-FM, 8 April 2008 [MP3, 60000KB]
Feature about David in Computer Arts Magazine from China (Chinese) [366KB]
“Why Should They Do Business With You?” by Daniel Saintjean and Laurel R. Simmons was recently published and significantly quotes David and his ideas.
ArabAd Magazine: “Bahrain’s Creative Nights” (English) [966KB]
Culture.ca interview with David Berman (English) [111KB]
Culture.ca interview with David Berman (French) [112KB]
“Mass Deception” by Birgitte Kleis in ARKITEKTEN Magazine (Danish) [754KB]
Elevating the Profession (Interview with David Berman by Margaret Ann Varner)
Ona Magazine clip: Magdalena festival (Slovenian)
Masterfile’s Open online magazine (USA): interview with David Berman (English) [134KB]
I Have An Idea online magazine (Canada): interview with David Berman (English) [116KB]
Comma magazine (Lebanon): article about David Berman, 2003 (English) [2450KB]
Applied Arts magazine (Canada): interview with David Berman, April 2003 (English) [140KB]
Seven Habits of Highly Effective Web Sites article by David Berman (English) [85KB]
Seven Habits of Highly Effective Web Sites flyer (which you are free to reproduce and distribute at will) (English) [50KB]
Publications and Papers
2013 edition of Do Good Design | April 2013
Author of best-selling book, published by Pearson/Peachpit
Chinese, Korean, Indonesian, braille editions of Do Good Design | 2009 to 2011
Beijing (China), Seoul (Korea), Jakarta (Indonesia)
Do Good Design | January 2009
Author of best-selling book, published by Pearson/Peachpit
Quantifying the Audience for Ones and Zeroes Analysis of Digital Art Audiences: Literature Review and Methodology (© Copyright Canadian Heritage Information Network 2005) [266KB]
A New Format For Canadian Legislation: White paper by David Berman, commissioned by Government of Canada on plain design’s role in republishing the laws of Canada under a more accessible format. [700KB]
Interview with David Berman by Margaret Ann Varner
“Society makes decisions about what is acceptable based on experts.”
What about the power centers? The presidents and chief executive officers who control the budgets and hire the graphic designers. How can a graphic designer apply the principles he believes in when he is hired and directed by the person who writes the check?
The first step is for designers and visual communicators to recognize where they have specific power in a society. For designers, it’s basically in three areas. One is in how people are visually and texturally portrayed. How we talk about people and how we present them has an effect on how people are viewed. For instance, if you’re dealing with issues of sexism, if someone throughout their life is constantly getting a barrage of images that portray women in certain ways, whether they are objectified, or certain body images are presented as what you ought to look like, and in order to achieve that you have to buy certain things, smell a certain way, etc. That’s one area where designers have a certain power.
The second area where graphic designers have a huge impact is the amount of forest products that are expended in print publishing. Whether it’s a matter of being cautious about how much paper is used up, or what kinds of papers are used in terms of recycled fibers, designers are the ones often around the table to help make the decisions as to what gets used.
The third area where designers and visual communicators have a specific power, is simply, what messages are sent out there and how truthful they are. While it’s true that the person bankrolling the sending of the message is a president, CEO, or assistant deputy minister, the reality is that these people rely on professionals to craft those messages and to send them. If everyone would say ‘no we’re not willing to send a message that is just plain wrong,’ then eventually the power centres would run out of people to hire to do it. Of course, there’s always that concern, ‘well if I don’t do it, then the next guy will.’ On the other hand there are a lot of ethical issues where you can just say, ‘well I was just following orders’ kind of thinking. But what really shifts things, is while a CEO may be completely profit oriented, eventually profit orientation includes taking into account-public opinion. Practitioners are in a position where they can help shift public opinion as to what is and is not acceptable and what is reasonable. I’m not talking about doing specific public relations campaigns, but society makes decisions about what is acceptable based on experts.
So if, visual communicators can elevate their profession to a level in which they are perceived as experts, in let’s say, the same way an architect is perceived. For example if you want to know if a building is safe, or is about to crumble, what would you do? You would consult with experts, say architects. If the architects say that the building is OK, then we trust that the building is safe because we trust architects. On the flip side, if the architects say that the building isn’t safe, ‘we wouldn’t go into it ourselves,’ you’d probably trust that opinion over say that of politicians. If we want to know if a specific product is safe or not, or if we should eat a certain type of food, or take a drug, we talk to doctors.
But visual communication is a young profession, so we’re just at the beginning of defining our role in society and having society recognizing our importance. I don’t expect society to be as mature when it comes to visual literacy. Certainly, in our society, we tend to be very literate in terms of words, but we’re not as literate in terms of visuals. Or we don’t recognize it as such, quite yet.
We have a society that’s based on word-based legal systems. For instance, if I put up a billboard that lies, just out and out lies using words-we can look at that and recognize it-and it’s not allowed. But if you juxtapose certain visual items, you create a visual sentence. And if the visual sentence lies, we’re not as quick to say that it’s a lie, or if it’s just misleading. We’re much less critical about visual lies, we allow it.
But this is changing. The good news is that society is becoming much more visually literate and more media aware. Year by year, you can see the shift. There are a number of indicators that demonstrate that visual literacy is on the rise. Society’s knowledge of who visual communicators are and their role in society is leaping forward every five years. People didn’t even know what a graphic designer was ten or fifteen years ago. Now most people know what the profession is.
Reviewed December 1, 2011