Over the past few weeks, I have written about feasibility in terms of the financial, environmental, and social agendas. As far as I can tell, feasibility seems to have a high correlation to limitations. Limitations often dictate the feasibility—or "[capability] of being done or carried out"—of design. These limitations are most often set by others, usually by the client. At least that is how it seems to be with regards to the financial, environmental, and social agendas.
Unlike the other three agendas, however, feasibility in terms of the personal agenda is guided by the limitations set by ourselves as the designer. These limitations are based on our own personal beliefs and values as individuals. The feasibility of design with regards to the personal agenda is dictated by if or how well a project aligns with these beliefs and values. While feasibility in terms of the personal agenda is different from it with regards to the other three agendas in that the limitations are set by ourselves rather than an outside entity, it is still influenced by the other three agendas. For example, we might ask ourselves, "Am I getting paid adequately for the work I am doing?" "Sustainability is important to me, so are the materials and processes being used to create and produce this project environmentally conscious?" "Socially conscious design is important to me, so will this project better society in some way?"
The question of value-free design has been contested in the graphic design community between those who are concerned with the need for values in design and those who believe it should be value-free. Those who believe that design should be value free reject the idea that graphic designers should concern themselves with underlying political issues. Those who are concerned with values believe that designers should be critical and take a stand in their choice of work. In the First Things First manifesto, which was originally released in 1964 and later revised and re-released in 2000, calls for graphic designers to use their skills for more noble causes—such as bringing attention to current environmental, social, and cultural crises—instead of using them in advertising and marketing to contribute to and perpetuate commercialism and consumerism, as is most common. While this tendency is dictated by the needs and wants of society and the industry's attempt to satisfy these, it is within our capability as visual communicators to persuade, educate, and inspire and our duty to create change. If we do not take a stand for what we believe in, then we cannot expect change.
Feasibility. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster online. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feasibility
Garland, Ken. (1964). First Things First: A Manifesto. Retrieved from http://maxbruinsma.nl/index1.html?ftf1964.htm
Adbusters (2000). First Things First: A Design Manifesto. Retrieved from http://maxbruinsma.nl/index1.html?ftf2000.htm