From what I am reading, Armstrong is speaking to the fact that when graphic design began, anonymity was the key factor. Many artists did not want to let their name get into the way of their artwork. They felt it could be an “egotistical” thing. I can see that back then as the author described, they wanted the work to speak for itself. Around this time, avant-garde was the art that went against the grain and the work that deviated from the mainstream narrative. Maybe during this time as well, WWI (World War I) was on the horizon with its propaganda art and the artists did not want people to think one way as opposed to having multiple opinions on the same artwork.
Munari describes design for the artist as something to change with time. For Munari, you have to design with the intent to include life’s daily challenges. The time of designing for certain minds to wander are not applicable in his mind as it was for artists before his time. You must adapt and work with the times to succeed. When looking at his thoughts of the designer putting their stamp on something that would just be functional, he contrasts from Armstrong. I think he understands how something would function, but if not put with the proper psychological design element, no one would readily peak an interest. This could be understood that even if you wanted people to interpret the abstract or complex work created, the purpose has to show through the design element — the personality. This could be argued as Munari’s “authorship” — something that Armstrong and others debate in the other reading that it might not be the way.
When I look at design today, there is a cry for culture shock and in-your-face moments. There are experiments that occur when things need a different turn — away from the normal phases of design. There is also culture acceptance. I think many artists create works for aesthetics and for fortune. The generation we are in is the “instant gratification” one. If I am bored today, I want something new tomorrow — that is how it goes. We do have technology now where it has shaped the way people craft their artwork. Where back then it used to take weeks and months to have a creation, it can happen in one hour. Has this dissipated the way artists are connected to their work? One can argue that point. What once was taking care of each stage of the creation to combine it and have it all put together is now someone flashing through Pinterest and figuring out the work in one take.
Honestly, I am not here to say it is a bad thing. Technology has made life easier. We have our Adobe Creative Suite and Affinity to help us work better and design amazing works. I can’t despise that. There are people who will. As Armstrong said using Manovich’s words, there is “hybridity” and “remixability” going on in our design world today. Is there anonymity though? There still can be. Is there authorship? Lots of it. The tried method of anonymity combined with technology today gives way to copycats. Many designers create only for their work to be taken as someone else’s. The copycats say “NO ATTRIBUTION REQUIRED” until attribution catches up to them. This anonymity starts to vanish when we have advances in technology. I have personally seen my friends (who are designers) get their work copied. This is where authorship comes into play. Maybe authorship is the way for certain designers to stay secured and not to make a statement these days. When it comes to theories in the design world, it is up to the individual to challenge them. Maybe it gives way for a better understanding of their own design lane. For me, this can be a constant, philosophical debate. Engagement is key though for continuous breakthroughs I (or an individual) might not spot right away.