Ken Garland,
First Things First
manifesto originator

Ken Garland studied design at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London in the early 1950s, and for six years was art editor of Design magazine, official mouthpiece of the Council of Industrial Design. In 1962, he set up his own company, Ken Garland & Associates, and the same year began a fruitful association (a "do-it-for-love consultancy," as he once put it) with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. He was a committed campaigner against the bomb, and his "Aldermaston to London Easter" poster, with its huge, marching CND symbol, is an important piece of protest graphics from the period. Always outspoken, in person and in print, he was an active member of the socialist Labour Party and in 1964 he penned the original "First Things First Manifesto."

Latch on to the Affirmative
When preparing this presentation, British designer Ken Garland was struck by the realization that his most intense creative activity coincided with his greatest outpouring of literature attacking many basic tenets and tendencies by which Western society conducts its business. In 1962, he produced a striking series of posters for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament; in 1964 he penned the now infamous "First Things First Manifesto," which condemned excessive expenditure on advertising to the disadvantage of what was loosely described as "more useful and lasting forms of communication"; in 1965 he attacked planned obsolescence; in 1967 it was the Vietnam war, elitist brainwashing techniques and over-production in the communication and packaging industries; and in 1976 he was casting aspersions on the mindless burgeoning of logotypes, symbols and other forms of brand identity with which designers had become obsessed. Join Garland as he considers whether 2001 might be the time to turn over a new leaf and spend the rest of his days being nice to everybody and looking only for things he approves of.

CREDITS © 2001 AIGA | the professional association for design
Site Credits