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Look beyond whiteness.

Designers experience a constant desire to simplify and are indoctrinated to believe that less is more. If you have ever been taught design or even remotely shown any interest in it, surely this phrase is no secret to you. We’re (sub)consciously taught to simplify: use only a select amount of typefaces, sizes, and styles, embrace whitespace and make use of big margins.

After digging a bit deeper it came as no surprise that this phenomenon goes beyond the scope of graphic design and whiteness is actually continuously praised all around. From Le Corbusier’s Law of Ripolin to the whitewashing of ancient Greek sculptures, it’s clear that the eurocentric perception has had a big impact on the features we value when it comes to the arts.

I Don’t See Color investigates, critiques, and strives to inform about the effect of the eurocentric perception on different branches of art, such as sculpture, architecture, photography, fashion & graphic design. From the Law of Ripolin to the use of whitespace in graphic design and the whitewashing of ancient Greek sculptures, Whiteness gets praised everywhere. This book takes a stance against these rules and invites the reader to question their knowledge and look beyond whiteness.

Chronic Whiteness by Mark Wigley

Whiteness is the real disease. It orchestrates life and death. It is the most lethal of pandemics. Chronic whiteness is organized around a millennial fantasy about the health of a certain kind of surface, a fantasy about the background that is sustained by a continuous hidden labor and has to be repeatedly confronted and defaced.

Decolonising Fashion: Defying the White Man’s Gaze by Angela Jansen

The way anthropologist Claire Nicholas formulates it, these designers negotiate the reproduction of essentialising and Orientalising displays of tradition/authenticity, while claiming cosmopolitan inspiration drawn from other traditions.

Love of Minimalism by Jarrett Fuller

In always pushing less is more, we risk losing the diversity of aesthetic experience.

Looking at Shirley by Lorna Roth

Using the emblematic “Shirley” norm reference card as a central metaphor reflecting the changing state of race relations/aesthetics, this essay analytically traces the colour adjustment processes in the industries of visual representation and identifies some prototypical changes in the field.

The Myth of Whiteness by Margaret Talbot

Greek and Roman statues were often painted, but assumptions about race and aesthetics have suppressed this truth. Now scholars are making a color correction.