Culture Versus Corporate


In the 46th edition of Eye magazine, Rick Poynor references the words of Robyn McDonalds
and Jason Grant, the directors of Inkahoots- ‘We work mainly in the community and cultural sectors, not just because that’s where the best work is, but because we figure our environment is already cluttered with sophisticated corporate imagery that often doesn’t  represent the community’s best interests*.’

Inkahoots, a magazine and website that displays both alternative design and social
commentary, has brought forth a question to my mind; to what extent is design being used
to create, or emphasize, a false world? It is widely believed by many that culture and
tradition and individuality are often buried or misrepresented through the smooth and
flawless worlds of fashion, advertising, and other mediums. On Inkahoots’ website, you can
read the words of Jason Grant, in discussion of social activist Naomi Klein; ‘Contemporary visual language is often a one-
way monologue of corporate branding, when it could be a real social dialogue of meaningful
human communication. The point of all this is that right now, it’s time to choose’*.

My initial question, then, must lead onto another; is such a situation really a bad thing? Grant says that we must
choose, and obviously means to suggest we should rebel against the corporate design- but
what would be left? As designers, we have a concern for meaning, but also for progress, and
what is meaning without progress? Would it not be better to understand the beast (provided you view it as such) that is
corporate design? Grant and Klein seem to want us to run from corporate design, rather than change
it, rather than become a part of it and transform that world. Is it not the duty of designers to
extend their reach as far as possible?


*: Eye magazine, 2000, Robyn McDonalds and Jason Grant- taken from

*: Jason Grant 2004- taken from

Updated Credits:

Poynor, 2002, Form follows purpose: Inkahoots (extract), Eye Magazine, text post, viewed 9 March 2016,

Grant, 2004, Fences & Windows, Inkahoots, text post, viewed 9 March 2016,