It’s complex to separate design and art from one another, considering it tends to be the very same present in different wrapping. The shock in contemporary art doesn’t only belong to contemporary art. It all comes down to giving you a message without verbally giving you a message.
To interpret it you were either gifted with a massive brain, the fantasy of Lewis Carroll or an internet connection.
The hidden messages in the graphic design pieces to Andy Warhol (yes, the pop artist with the cans your “not even into design what so ever”-friend has seen) is rather hypocritical. The original intention was to attack mass consumerism. At the same time he had an urge for being known and to be among the right people at the right time. His pieces became mass produced (by him, the fake copies are another chapter), and he became a product of his very own criticism.
You may have noticed the “poor design”-trend. Even though each end of the upper and lower typography’s at vertical lines, even though the empty spaces are balanced and even though the italic font could be seen in a “believe in yourself”-tattoo it can still be considered quite the success because 1) it obviously works and 2) it makes discussion. One way to interpret “poor design” is looking at our society as a place where everything’s made or done earlier regarding design. When the society feels saturated a strategy is to start from the bottom. I will stop myself from quoting the “started from the bottom now we’re here” but I still managed to do it anyway.