I haz knowledge with webz and fontz

surtees design quote

When I posted about rental fonts, one of the first things I mentioned was “I’m probably going to be excommunicated from the “web community” for asking this”… I didn’t say design community, but “web community”. I see design in a very broad sense. Over the course of weeks, months and years on Design Notes I’ve tried to explore anything and everything with an attitude of “what can I learn from” experience and it’s relationship to design. It can be something misc. about graphic design to sharing my everyday walking experience to work in NYC. I also like to review apps and books—it’s healthy to question things and not have to worry about personal attacks. What I don’t do is expect is that people should follow how I think. Unfortunately there’s a minority of obnoxious people in the web community that think everything is fair game for personal attacks, intimidation and worse. They would suggest that there is only way to do things on the web and if you don’t agree with them—watch out. The thing is, there’s more to the interwebs than just web sites. Today is about distributing experiences. A lot of the time a web site is the best way to do that, sometimes it’s an application, maybe it’s a product. But it’s bigger than just a web site. All the elements need to work for their intended audience, scale in an appropriate way and degrade when information is missing. But it is about the experience and not the about the underlying tech. I think that’s hard for a lot in the web community to consider.

When I read about “designers with training in traditional typography and graphic design are worse off than those who don’t have any kind of formal design education” I just have to wonder what scores are trying to be settled? The web is only a component of the experience, and to suggest otherwise is a disservice. I don’t think anyone is going to suggest web standards are a bad thing, of course we want things to work. But to believe that the production of a site as the experience is crazy. Design is about figuring out what the issues are that need to be resolved while working backwards and forwards until something is able to be experienced. Going to school to explore this should be commended, not seen as a hindrance. I would hope that there’s room to debate this stuff without having to be worried about being blacklisted or attacked. I know there is room in the design community for the discussion needed, I just wonder if those that can’t think outside of the web can do the same thing.

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  • http://www.designtank.ws/ Chris Raymond

    Michael, you are right about the ludicrousness of the comment that people with design training are worse off regarding typography. Jeffrey Zeldman seems to think training in typography means that we want to use all kinds of fonts and we can't do that on the web. But that IS NOT what good typography is at all; it's about balance and color and spacing and hierarchy, and you can achieve those with Arial and Georgia. I can't tell you how many websites I have seen designed to the lofty w3c standards that clearly show the creator doesn't understand the principles of typography. Things like floating heads, poor line-height and measures. Zeldman should confine his analyses to things he is knowledgable about.