Design Education – Bricklayer or Art Director

As a Designer myself, reading Motionographer  this interview it struck a chord with me. Its a comparison of a Technical Specialist vs a Director Type role.

The Value of Production is Going down.

Motionographer reports Chris Do bringing up a controversial topic in design education, he had an interesting interview with two Art Center Teachers about design education. In that interview he poses the question if a student hires someone to do the work he is suited for an Art Director role.

With the cost of production of video or design making going down due to globalisation. How does a designer solve for business strategy? What a designer coming out of school lack now is how to translate the use of colour theory and talk in business terms to solve business problems. This is something that I faced too early in my career I was just a graphics guy.

How much are you worth for your Time?

One other interesting thing in the discussion they talks about the differences between a technical person vs a director in term of how they value time. He cites one student who paid someone to do his photoshop work for a class, as a person who is more suited for a Art Director role. This person values his time to solve creative problems for the brief rather than work on his technical photoshop weaknesses.

I have seen this too myself that if you value your time you will have to give the making portion of the process over to someone else and focus more on the creation strategy for the brief or business.

Are you a Generalist or Specialist?

I feel that myself I am average in my technical skills. It seems that this brings up if you want to be a Specialist maker or a Generalist that can gather resources (Talent) to make art. I would say I am more a generalist rather than a specialist. So I definitely feel that there is a difference between a maker and an art director. What are you trying to solve? I see no difference in tackling a creative brief or making art whether solo or in a team.

Add more value than just Design

It is interesting that this is a debate coming up now though a bit late in seeing this video. I feel the world has changed. Making stuff is so cheap now it can’t cover the cost of living being a designer unless you move to a low cost country.

What do You value? Are we solving business strategy or just being an Artist?

As an Art Director there is more soft skills needed than just being good at photoshop.

It this day and age designers need to transition from makers to Entrepreneurs.



Internet monoculture

I have been reading a bit to follow up on my previous blog post on Why still own a blog.

The Internet has brought out change, a chance for a voice to be heard and influence a culture, but that openess seems to be going away, the variety and interesting connections of ides seem to be less with the rise of mono platforms.

I always pondered on variety and permanance. Matt Mullenweg has called for saving the open web seeing the rise of platforms like Medium and Facebook where there is a concentration of ideas there but the writers don’t own the content.

Yancey Strickler also talked about bringing in more diversity to the internet tather than mostly its just the same ole homogeneous stiff with every new product just chasing money so as to be a success rather that seeing through with the original creators idealistic values.

So coming back to writing on your own domain, I guess its harder to build an audience now with all these platforms and its promise of someone noticing, but in a longer run we may see interesting products or content stem from our ideals and values.


Yancey Strickler Resist and Thrive:

Check out @minnaliik’s Tweet:

WordPress Matt Open Web

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You Draw Well but

You draw well but you don’t have any ideas…


Heard this quote on a creative interview podcast. Sometimes we get focused on technique that we forget that the most important thing to communicate is the ideas in our drawings, paintings, art books or whatever media or medium we use.

A timely reminder that the art must serve the ideas don’t get too hung up on technique. Use what best suits to the way you want to communicate. Even The Oatmeal has bad drawings but it communicates lots of funny.

Seth Godin on Vulnerablity and the ABC’s of Creativity

A great interview on creating art and fighting the resistance in our brain to make art. He goes back to Steven Pressfield book on The War on Art.

A Transcribe highlights of the interview can be found here

Some interesting highlights from the interview are covered from Seth’s writings and blog posts and books:

Scarcity drives values old model of doing things. New model is about abundance. We have wider reach thanks to the internet. Making things is it still valuable eg, making a book? If I am making something there must be something experiential. His book captures the experience of hearing your mom reading you a book it is like magic. He stole the feeling and put it in his book. So that he can get to the part of your head that is not afraid and have bravery.

Am I making art or showing up to make a paycheck?

How many people are Artist in Kindergarten; all raise their hands, less in the higher grades and few admit it. What happens to our creativity overtime?

Are we limited by lousy clients? Not its not a problem. Some deal with it by making great art anyway. Accept the fact in the industrialized work we have to use what we are given.

The work is not about being more technically proficient the computer can do that, but to craft something that the client has never seen or feel.

We got to pick clients what you want as well to do good Art.

Should Design Firms stay small? (Or reframed into Are you a freelancer or Entrepreneur?)
Freelancers cannot scale and succeed, unless they kick out their current client and find better clients. You can’t hire more people to do your work.
Entrepreneurs create something that is bigger than himself. You only hire people to do the work.

Design at its core thrives when a human produces work that touches another human being.

Designer will push the envelop father and better than me.

Anxiety: It is experience failure in Advance. Worry is not preparation.

We can’t make the fear go away only dance with it.

I am a Loser and why bad art matters

I take comfort in making bad art as seen in this 2 part video. Most of the people we admire or a master of their craft, had a period of a self apprenticeship and put 10,000 hours of deliberate practice for their craft.

Somehow our culture has not told us or maybe technology has skewed our view about how quick success can be. Success is built overtime often unseen and unheard. Thankless often. That is why its takes grit to get through the difficult year or years.

There’s a great quote from Ira Glass (of This American Life) about the difficulty of getting good at anything , starting as a beginner:

“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story.

It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

The period where your taste outpaces your ability to produce it is a hard one. You know your goals but don’t quite know how to fulfill them. That’s why it’s easier to be a critic rather than an artist that makes stuff. Hope you don’t give up and continue to hone the craft of whatever you are doing you will reach that goal of mastery.

via No Film School