Grafisch Ontwerp

Designers do think

When I first started to work in the graphic design industry (a long while ago), it was pretty much because the web was exploding and I had just finished my degree studying communication, cinema (screenplay writing) and arts. What was there to do with this? Well, not much because I wasn’t specialized in anything; I had studied for my own pleasure and interests. BUT, I had talent with esthetics, writing and structuring content, I was learning softwares fast, so I was offered the opportunity to start making websites, which I took. That was in 1996.

I was working for a web hosting company and at the time, I was doing lots of things like managing clients, troubleshooting emails & FTP problems, etc. I was also designing web sites but I didn’t really know what was graphic design outside the web.

After two years of doing lots of things, I realized that my talent for esthetics was not sufficient enough and that I lacked important theoretical knowledge. If I wanted to be a creative (and not be a troubleshooting person), I had to do something about it. Yes, I knew the softwares but I didn’t know much about typography, grids, function and details… finally what graphic design really is about.

I could have continued and learned as an autodidact but I had limits and so at age 26, I went back to study Graphic Design at UQAM. There, I wasn’t really thought to learn softwares. What I learned was how to think, how to innovate, to be creative and responsible (not enough). I would have wanted more theoretical teaching and exams. I was a little bit disappointed by the fact that we did not write much or study much theory (I think I might be the only one who would have wanted that). But it was there that I learned pretty much everything I know about the design process. I had a few inspiring teachers & colleagues who also thought me how to receive and give critics. After I finished my degree, I continued to learn and read about design.

What I did in 1996 and what I do now has no common measure because I took the time to learn and develop other skills that have nothing to do with software tools.

I decided to write on this subject because I am fed up with people thinking that graphic design has to do with being good with computers. Graphic designers have to know how to use the computer (or they still could choose not to) but they have to understand that the computer is only a tool, like a pen & paper would be. For me, it’s non-sense to become a designer if you do not know what happened before and what’s happening now in the world (in the graphic design field but also in social matters, politics, technology, etc.).

Andy Rutledge has written a very inspiring article on the subject of what makes a good (web)designer. I encourage every designer and employer to read  it.

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Publié dans la catégorie Uncategorized, le 2 July 2008

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