You Say You Want a Manifesto

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Manifestos–some smart, others not–are all the rage in art and design circles. An exhibition in Treviso, Italy, from Sept 12 to Oct 31, is about 13 of them that were created on varying themes by the likes of Mike Mills, Stefan Sagmeister, Massimo Vignelli (below, second from bottom), Bob Norda, Enzo Mari, Daniel Eatock, Edenspiekermann, KeselsKramer (above), Bre Pettis and Kio Stark, Bob Gill (below bottom), and Ellen Lupton (below second from top), and includes Ken Garland’s classic “First Things First” (below top).

It is simply called “Manifesto,” and was organized by the Venice design studio Tankboys and the copywriter Cosimo Bizzarri. I asked Tommaso Speretta, the publicist for the show, to tell me more:

What is the purpose?

“Manifesto” is a show that leaves the final result aside, and focuses instead on the creative process: Thirteen posters comprising the 13 personal manifestos of 13 acclaimed international designers are all brought together under one roof. Some of these statements are very well known, others have been made exclusively for the exhibition; some are programmatic pieces of writing, some are detailed work manuals. All are passionate tributes to graphic design, creativity, and the design culture.

What do you hope to achieve?

Walking through the works of “Manifesto” will be like wandering around the most influential designers’ desks, peeking in their drawers, rummaging through their computer desktops and pencil boxes. It will be like having a coffee with the design gurus, asking them to explain the basic principles and the ultimate goals that they strive for.

Where is it?

It will take place at XYZ Gallery, a new exhibition space in Venice, started in 2008 as a nonprofit and independent alternative to the traditional galleries and art spaces. Graphics (X), design (Y), and photography (Z) are the three Cartesian axes, which XYZ develops its activities around.

What’s your personal manifesto, and what would it look like in graphic form? Here’s your chance to declare it.

About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.View all posts by Steven Heller →