Chapter 12Eccentrics and Design Quirkiness

The digital age, paradoxically, breeds quite a few eccentrics. Unlike “originals,” who initiate trends that others may adopt, imitate, and exploit, “eccentrics” defy categorization. You cannot replicate what they do—nor would you want to. Eccentrics are not leaders because they do not have followers; neither can they be described as pioneers, pathfinders, torchbearers. Their role in society is to be “different.” Free-spirited, self-motivated, with the courage to do their own thing, they also possess a mischievous sense of humor. Where would we be without these famous eccentrics: Pythagoras, James Joyce, Peggy Guggenheim, or Oscar Wilde?

Oddball graphic designers fall between the cracks, so to speak, but are able to develop unique approaches, never realizing that they don't fit into any identifiable niche. They take advantage of every new technology, fiddle with it, and make it work in ways that are unusual and offbeat. Mad collectors of vintage artifacts, obsessive hobbyists, stubborn software tinkerers, connoisseurs of cultural trivia, former musicians, chefs, or athletes, with or without political agenda, they were probably not trained as graphic designers, but when they stumbled on this discipline quite by chance, they were quick to embrace it.

These relentless inventors seldom take the time to explain what they do and why. But when they do, as is evident in the next candid interviews, they demonstrate that the difference between ...

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