“Government’s Role in Design: The California Experiment”

This article was unearthed as part of a project that took place in Michael Dooley's design history class at Art Center College of Design in 2015. Since little of the design press had been digitized, much of design history was undiscoverable. The Graphic Design Treasure Hunt project involved students in looking at copies of magazines for articles covering California graphic design. This piece, report on California's state-sponsored 'Good Design Conference,' is one of those discoveries. "California means to change all that [referring to poorly designed buildings and graphics] at least within its own borders. In a pioneering effort, the state government has initiated a campaign from within to provide the kind of state buildings , graphics, signage, publications, etc., that will reflect the vitality and leadership that California is attempting to assume in other areas.The first big step toward achieving this goal was the Conference on Good Design held in Sacramento" The impetus for was a push for more creative state government under then Governor Edmund Brown and increasing the state's economic base beyond defense-spending. The interest in design resulted when a copy of "california design / eight" was brought to the Governor's attention. This catalog documented one of the influential California Design exhibitions that featured California craft and suggest this "natural resource"—design—as an economic force. The agenda was "to identify the state with the best in contemporary design and with the use of design to increase human enjoyment and understanding."