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Love/Hate About Graphic Designers | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

Love/Hate About Graphic Designers

5. What’s better, working with a good timeline with people you hate, or a tough deadline with people you believe in?

4. Is a graphics designer really that much different from a graphic designer?

3. Sometimes you have to break the idea that if “I learned it that way in design school”, that you can’t look the other way and break that rule sometimes.

2. Yes, Apple is as much a multinational as Nike. Get over it.

1. Are we really early adopters? How many people are still using Quark and are asking what the point of blogs are?

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  • http://occultdesign.blogspot.com/ Fell

    5. With people you believe in, you discover possibilities become available (even readily so) because of the creative power and “energy” you feed off of from one another. If you hate someone, it implies that you would want them to fail and that will inevitably — no matter how small — affect the work overall. Also, to an extent, we are who we hang out with. A few inspired minds can accomplish what hundreds of the uninspired could never. (As open source often demonstrates.)

    4. Semantics are important in defining a particular position, but in this case I don’t know the differece. Sounds as though a “graphics designer” would actually be more of a graphic artist, differentiating the job from that of a graphic designer. “Graphics” sounds like a variety of illustrative styles or applications, whereas “graphic” implies an industry or medium. Problem is, the definition of either seems fairly week, so this is theoretical, really. There has yet to be a good definition of graphic designer for the industry to utilise to perpetuate the job and its success. The AIGA has dropped the term, and the GDC does not seem to define it, not through their materials nor by the consistency of their members.

    3. Surprisingly, it seems that a great number of designers I meet are afraid to try new things out, adopt to change. In fact, it seems contradictory to “design.” They lack the artistic side, the poetic capacity to be able to “see” avenues of possibilities that are as yet undefined. Is that design? It requires a syncretism, and that does not seem to be a focus in design education (yet).

    2. Amen. That just substantiates the #3. Also, that so many designers can fall victim to their own vices. Really, not that Apple uses Intel, were they really the “best” computers as everyone touted them to be from before. Or were they just perpetuating the Apple brand.

    1. This now substantiates #1. Apple is well-known for being “easy-to-use.” Which sorta implies a lack of technical know-how on many designers’ behalfs. As for the question posited, I’d have to say more than half of a particular listserv I know and most designers that have grown into their late 30s and 40s and beyond. Why many have neglected their continuing education is beyond me, but why do they deserve the continuing title of “Master” designer when they are really unaware of the processes and evolution of the job as it currently sits?

    Apostrophes in URLS indeed.

  • http://www.michaelsurtees.com michael


    5. If you can accomplish what you want, does it matter who you work with?

    4. What does your next client classify you as?

    3. How would you change this?

    2. Apple should be questioned. More about that next week…

    1. I shrug and say there’s much work to be done.

  • http://occultdesign.blogspot.com/ Fell

    Hi Michael,

    5. If I can, sure. But it’s my preference to work with those that are going to create an atmosphere of confidence and creative problem solving. Of course this is subjective — I wouldn’t dare denying anyone working with others they dislike — but I know the benefits of working with those you appreciate increases the productivity significantly and I don’t have time to waste my life on situations such as that, just to get work done. The work is rarely worth my well-being.

    4. My next client will come to know me as a Visual Communication Designer. I will structure what it is I do under that banner for now, which will also include communication audits and consulting. I am still wrestling with some elements of the title, “visual” in particular. But I believe I’ll keep it in order to distinguish my focus and through my marketing materials make it known that my work is a focal point which binds other aspects of design, such as brand conceptualising.

    3. I’ve been thinking about that problem a lot over the past months, particularly after having discussed the same matter with designers from Europe and the States where they do tend to have more focus on the poetics of design than I’ve seen here in Canada. I don’t mean to say that it’s ubiquitous in those regions either, but it’s more widely acknowledged and pursued.

    As I am delving into the study of Aristotelian rhetoric and the metaphysics of ontology, I would find it extremely pertinent to bring these concepts into the design world. They deal with logicial orders and hierarchies, which can be used to deduce pragmatic orders of form and function within design.

    And as such, I believe there should be no sacrifice of form or function over one another. But function benefits from the above mentioned studies, and form is one of poetics, of the arts. And this requires that design embody not only a study of symbolism, but also that designers take the time to become acquainted personally with the power of symbols. The power of poetics and symbolism lie subjectively with the designer, and this is not being properly implemented in schools. It implies involvement with culture, the community, and a wisdom of experiences to aid in shaping the proper forms by which functions should and could be melded.

    This is not a design issue, however. Subjective pursuits are stilled at the get-go in the public education system, so this is rooted in a much larger problem. But education can be implemented for adults, the materials are out there. The vernacular just needs to be shifted to appeal to a design audience and the benefits properly worded in order to make it seem obvious why people should learn further to refine and perfect their craft.

    2. I’ll leave Apple for you to discuss. I’ve never owned any Apple products, and I probably never will. I have killer respect for their draconian consistency, but overall they don’t serve any real needs aside from me looking cool. And I can’t look much cooler than I already do. ;P

    1. This is the matter of much debate, and I can only speak from observation. Perhaps we can discuss it in person sometime, as I have recently with another GDC member here in Vancouver while I’m visiting. The early adoption of new methods is going to correlate with lifestyle, and lifestyle refers back to #3. There is a reason skate and DJ culture is at the forefront, and designers involved in those lifestyles are setting the groundwork for others: a consistent attitude of breaking the rules, making the system work for them and learning the loopholes, they bend and break to see what will work. There is no respect for the status quo, and as such they discover wonderful new elements to bring back to the safer folk who would embrace it only after it’s been proven by those before them. It’s like this in any industry, not just the subcultures I mention here, but for businesses willing to take the risks, the payoffs are often more rewarding — and not just fiscally.

    The idea of designer should be one that embraces the ideas of situationism and anarchy, of de-constructing the current methods in order to put them back together in favour of taking the client ever-closer to their goals. With proper education, a designer is one with the power to both break mores and common ontologies in order to build new ones — it’s the power to shape the world around them and their clients.

    Then again, that is just my opinion…