Monday, August 1, 2011


It shows the power of the cliché. The cartoon bubble with the light bulb remains a diagram for creativity and inspiration  - the pun of brilliance - even when such bulbs have been banned by society, discarded as a waste of energy in our era of efficiency. Compact fluorescents and LEDs have replaced them., but the forms of these light sources have not become the new image of ‘IDEA!’ in spite of their inherent cleverness. QUT seems happy to dwell in this cloud of cliché as it uses an illuminated traditional light bulb to suggest the concept of being unique. Oddly, the bulb is not even screwed in, but it is shown working, magically standing vertical on its tip of solder, soldiering on. As for local content and context, the Edison screw bulb was the least common form of light bulb in Australia. The bayonet fitting was the old standard. So the QUT promo is a mix of uncertainty. One is asked to ‘consider QUT’ if one is asked: ‘want a bright future in design?’ What future is this when it is being promoted by such an old image of an inefficient bulb from another context that is shown standing and working when it should not be? Or has QUT discovered wireless electricity; or how to balance a line of light bulbs? It may all seem trite and ‘jokey,’ but if we are not aware of clichés and the implied associations in the images chosen to suggest an idea, then there is not much of a future in any design.

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