Areas of art and design in David Consuegra’s work. Octavio Mercado G.

The practice of design as a formal discipline has often been placed in areas that adjoin those of the field of art, resulting in a relationship of tension and exchange between art and design. These professions have experienced a series of loans and exchanges, and more importantly, transmissions that allow a constant revision of the specific practices that occur in each field. Their location in a foreign realm leads to the acquisition of new goals and prospects among these areas.


The work of the graphic designer David Consuegra, shows how at times it infiltrates the artistic field, and in this sense it is capable of having a wider and significant impact, and also of establishing a valuable critique about the institution and its characteristics, which otherwise could not be achieved from an artistic point of view.


David Consuegra’s graphic output is marked by 20th century developments in graphic design. In Latin America this meant the recognition of this activity, from the second half of the century onwards, as an integral and professional discipline in its own right, and Consuegra as a lecturer and practitioner actively participated in this process.


The incorporation of both aesthetics and communication had a complex development in Latin American design. In the beginnings of the 20th century political satire was the platform that allowed the blend between practical and aesthetic issues. Latin American design also presents a constant search for its own identity, and this is what has kept it from becoming a purely commercial activity. The tension that exists between design and tradition is what has led Latin American design to constantly search for its local roots and at the same time to reach a more global scope.


Various leading figures of Latin American design, such as Tomás Maldonado (1922, Buenos Aires), and the Spanish-Mexican Vicente Rojo (1932, Barcelona), have been able to practice a simultaneous career both as fine artists an graphic designers, incorporating artistic and functional aspects in their work. By contrast, David Consuegra was not exactly an artist working in the field of fine art, and this was one of his major strengths. Consuegra is an example of how a creator of images in the era of mass production, was able to travel across specific boundaries of art and design. Latin American avant-garde was not alien to this process, there are many artists who have tried to operate outside their own artistic boundaries, with the aim of finding more efficient ways of communicating with a wider public. Artists searching to have an impact on social issues saw the potential of graphic design as a medium of mass communication, as opposed to the constrained world of fine art and art exhibitions. On the other hand, when graphic design becomes the object of an art exhibition, a space is opened to reflect on the aesthetic issues of graphic design and not only on the functional or social impact of this activity.


David Consuegra’s work defies strict classifications between art and design. Some of his books and type designs are examples of how the boundaries between these fields merge and any categorization becomes problematic. Throughout his work he always made emphasis that graphic design’s prime function is to communicate and this is what distinguishes this discipline from fine art. But the richness and importance of Consuegra’s work lies in his capacity for effectively crossing boundaries between disciplines.