Mona Lisa has stood the test of time, and why weathering the effects of age may be artists' and designers' greatest challenge.'/> Old and New - Design Bureau

Ahhh Steven Heller. The man can write! Maybe it’s just because I’m a young designer (25), but I don’t yet feel a responsibility towards future consumers to have my work age gracefully. Sure, it’d be nice to think my last book cover design or logo mark is admired by design students into 2100, but it’s quite a weight to design with that in mind.

Tanner says:

I’m not so sure that all design ages (Helvetica has aged, but isn’t going anywhere). What struck me about this article/interview is Steven’s approach to hiring specialists… spoken like a man who knows what he’s talking about.

Old and New

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Mona Lisa and Mona Gorilla

Along with death and taxes, another certainty is that new becomes old. Invariably, art and design will age. The challenge for artists and designers, therefore, is to create something that gets old gracefully. Take DaVinci's 16th Century masterpiece, Mona Lisa. She has never gotten old. Virtuosity is one reason. Her mysterious beauty has kept her young. Knowing so little about her as a person, in a sense, keeps her alive in the public mind. She is also forever locked in a charged moment and her energy contributes to iconic status, which has, in turn, ensured longevity. In addition, she is renewed by the plethora images based on her countenance. How many satires and parodies of the Mona Lisa have graced printed pages over the past three hundred years? Each one, like Rick Meyerowitz's 1971 Mona Gorilla, has exponentially extended the life of the original. In this way the venerable Mona never gets old.

By Steven Heller

Q+A with Steven Heller

Will future coding languages more closely resemble Mandarin or English?

Beats me. It’s all Mandarin to me. Right now, English is the primary language. America is hanging on by a string. But I don't think China will rise to the top of the tower of Babel for a while.

What is more satisfying, seeing your work in print or online?

Both, actually. I have been totally initiated into the web and enjoy knowing that what I do can reach more than four people.

For a small design studio, is hiring a specialist to do just one thing a good idea?

Hiring is an art. What you need and whom you hire are balancing acts. Hiring specialists can be a trap or not. There is never a single answer. But, I'd say it is contextual. And that's why the economy is rooted in freelancers. You hire the specialist you need for the time needed.

See more with Steven Heller in our Bureau Expert feature in the November/December issue.

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