Since 1962 Ken Garland equipped the British movement for Nuclear Disarment with a visual message and he became a devoted adherent to the campaign, that never earned him a single penny. In 1963 he wrote and proclaimed the The First Things First manifesto »in favour of the more useful and more lasting forms of communication« and demanded »Reversal of priorities in favour of the more useful and more lasting forms of communication.« Garland claims for a ”society that will tire of gimmick merchants, status salesman and hidden persuaders”.
After studying design at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London in the early 1950s, Ken became for six years art editor of Design magazine and official mouthpiece of the Council of Industrial Design. In 1962 he left to establish his own graphic design studio, Ken Garland & Associates. He has contributed many articles to design periodicals in the UK, US, Europe and Japan and has also held lectures at universities around the globe, always outspoken, in person and in print. Garland’s photographic work has been seen in numerous exhibitions and books.
Design and its responsibility in our society has been Ken’s topic for the last 50 years. At TYPO London he will share his ideas on where design‘s priorities are now. (Photo: Anna Carson)
Ken Garland's first work for CND: a double crown poster for the 1962 Easter March
Ken Garland's famous 'frist things first'-manifesto, written and proclaimed in December 1963 and published in January 1964.
1. Which work are you particularly proud of? Which work best represents your style or approach?
the work I am always most interested in at any one time is the one I have done most recently; in this case it is a photograph in my ongoing series, ‘looking closer’, which I took four weeks ago. it is called ‘cover of water valve in pavement, camden town, london’. enlarged to twice its original scale it becomes something quite new: a monster.
2. The theme of this year’s TYPO London is »Social«. Do you consider design to be a social discipline? Which design project do you consider to be particularly socially relevant?
yes, I do. the most socially relevant design project of recent years is a book I commissioned, co-designed,with anna carson, and published. it is called ‘playing out’ by ruth garland (my daughter), and consists of drawings she executed about 40 years ago, as a teenager.
3. A conference like TYPO London is in itself an obvious example for a social event: what are you especially looking forward to?
I have no expectations; only curiosity.
4. Required reading/watching: What are currently your favorite interesting/beautiful publications, exhibitions, books, movies and/or websites?