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Interview: Craig Ward talks graphic design lies and why you should stop hating Comic Sans

Neil Bennett | Oct. 29, 2012
We speak to the designer and art director about his book Popular Lies About Graphic Design.

Craig Ward is a liar. The designer and art director has just released a book called Popular Lies About Graphic Design, where he sets out to demolish widely held 'truths' that he thinks are a lot of codswallop - from 'Graphic design is easy' (yep, Ed) and 'There's no budget but it's a great opportunity' (definitely) to 'The client is a $%&*' (not always) and 'Comic Sans is the worst typeface ever created' (erm...).

Each 'lie' is either demolished piece by piece, or used as a jumping off point to discuss what Craig's learned over his years in the business from starting out in London to his current career in New York. Funny answers are juxtaposed again thoughtful reflection - and the centre of the book is given over to the likes of Stefan Sagmeister, David Carson and Milton Glaser explaining the worst lie they've ever been told.

I sat down with Craig to find out more about the book, and explore some of the areas he touches on.

NB: Why did you use the concept of lies to set out these thoughts? For example, were these things you used to believe but experience has taught you differently?

CW: "I think the joy of being a designer is that it's a constantly evolving experience, there are surely parts of this book that my opinion will perhaps have shifted on in a few years time but that's kind of the point. I set out on page one (sort of) that fact that this is a book full of opinions. There are so many books out there that just say 'this is how it is supposed to be' that they don't really leave any room for interpretation and I certainly didn't want this to come across like that.

"Lies is a good hook, I think - it's punchy and memorable.

"The whole idea of the truth is subjective anyway, so it felt like a good format to set the lie out, distress it or warp it in some way typographically - and then argue why I believe this not to be the case."

NB: Who did you have in mind as a reader when you were writing this?

CW: "Myself and younger practitioners - students and recent graduates - are the main market really. I wrote these little essays for myself, way before I'd thought about collecting them into a book so there's an element of catharsis in there.

"I feel like I never got out of the student mentality - the experimental, try anything once kind of mindset - and I think that's something I'm really proud of. It's what (I hope) keeps my work fresh. There is, probably, nothing in the book that someone who has been working for 15 years won't have heard before - but hopefully they'll find something interesting the way it's written, the way I argue it and also seeing it in the context of the book.


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