I was recently interviewed on the subject of changing technologies in design, along side other designers; Chris Spooner, Eric Karjaluoto, T.R. Eisenberg and David Airey. Below are my answers, but you can find the full post over on Joanna Designs blog.
As such an experienced designer, how do you manage to keep up with all the new trends and technologies?
I’ve personally found that the best way to keep up with the new technologies & trends is by reading blogs and by following the right people. With this said, it is important not to follow trends for trends sake, but rather to be informed of what is possible and what to avoid. Same goes with new technology, it should be generally be used with purpose, not just “because”.
Do you believe that a battle between printed and digital media exists?
I wouldn’t call it a battle but rather, a shift or change in they way we consume and interact with media. Print is certainly declining and digital on the rise, but I don’t think that print will ever be dead… my business card is proof of that.
Would you ever hire a designer who doesn’t have social media accounts like Facebook or Twitter?
Yes, of course I’d hire a designer without social accounts. I know many talented designers who don’t get caught up with the social aspects of Facebook, Twitter and the likes. There are certainly pros and cons of both but I don’t think it would influence my decision to hire or not, unless it came down to two equally skilled designers.
Do you think web developers will become the new graphic designers?
Web developers are in some sense designing, however this question really depends on the definitions of both of these titles. I don’t believe web developers are the ‘new graphic designers’ per se, but there are overlaps.
Are there any new tools / technology for designers that you don’t like as much?
There are new tools, technologies and applications coming out everyday and it’s simply impossible to keep up with them all. Certainly a few take my interest more than others, but at the end of the day I tend to stick with the tools that make life easier. Tools such as Dropbox and Spotify.
Do you think that universities are preparing graphic design students well for such a fast changing industry?
I’ve been too out of touch with the university system to give an educated answer here, but I do know for a fact that when I was studying back in 2007 web design education was far behind and my classes consisted of going to a tutorial on the web.
If you had to choose between a designer who is a skillful programmer and a talented typographer, who would you choose over?
When it comes to web design, 80% of the design is based on typography so I would have to go with the typographer. Developers can more easily replicate a design, than creating their own.
Do you think that some designers just aren’t able to keep up with the fast changes of the industry?
No one can know it all, but my advice would be to keep up to date with what interests you and what you think will be best for your career. Personally, I don’t like to code however I do keep up to date with the knowledge of what is possible, and what technology is required to do it. This way the implementation can be done by professionals but the design and thinking can come from myself.
What do you think will happen to designers who ignore learning from digital media and want to focus only on print?
I don’t think it will be possible to ignore digital media. There is a natural progression here and soon enough, nearly everyone will be touching digital media whether they like it or not.
Have any further questions? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll get back to you.
25 thoughts on “Interview: Fast Changing Technologies in Graphic Design”
“When I was studying back in 2007 web design education was far behind and my classes consisted of going to a tutorial on the web.” I have recently graduated from college and this is so true. Most of my graphic design classes were going to a tutorial on the web and I felt like it was a waste of money (I did have a few that taught really well so I am thankful for that). I would say I learned more from YouTube tutorials than I did in classrooms. Sadly, my parents spent $0 on YouTube and $5000 per class on college education.
Yes, many of my classes were the same. I was just always wondering if the teachers should/ are allowed to do that. If I wanted to watch the tutorials I wouldn’t go to the university.
Sounds like a common problem. I think it also has to do with the fact that web design is still in its infancy and moves at such a fast pace. Most teachers simply can’t keep up, let alone know the skills in the first place.
I believe that it is not the fault of the teachers, but of the universities that don’t provide seminars and workshops for them to stay updated. All the schools just offer new courses with fancy names but don’t have the staff that can actually teach it. In our web design course (basic html) we couldn’t even ask a question because the teacher wouldn’t know an answer. But still everyone had to develop a website for the final exam 🙂
My experience with university was terrible if I’m being honest. The people teaching us were literally years behind with the stuff they were trying to teach ( which probably wasn’t their fault ) but more than that, the curriculum was unfocused and undeveloped.
It may be the case that the web design is still such a new things in terms of a robust curriculum, but I wonder if by teaching in a place of learning that the teachers themselves very quickly lose touch of what’s going on in the industry, let alone honing their own skills to pass on.
I dropped out and taught myself practically everything, but this leaves me worried that there are probably massive gaps in what I should know when it comes to design ( probably some fundamentals especially ). It’s certainly true that university isn’t necessarily essential to get a job in this line of work, but it would be great if the option was there and was able to serve us appropriately.
I think one of the solutions could be much more correspondence between working professionals with both teachers and students. It’s such a rapidly growing industry that it’s surely the only way to deliver the most up to date and useful practices.
One more thing ( sorry for going on ) – I personally find that I learn so much more on the job than reading books etc. it’s not that I don’t gain a lot from books and other resources, but actually getting thrown into the thick of it is the best way to remember the mistakes you’ve made and how to improve on them, there should be more involvement in universities with the practical side of things, like working with clients, meeting strict deadlines, amending revisions etc.
Totally agree with you, universities are NOT the place to get practical advice on running a design business. I’ve been self-employed for a decade now and I struggled in the early days too. My advice, and this is what I did, is to get a business mentor. They’re pricey but, oh wow, they’re worth it if you find a good one. Over the course of 2 years they helped me push my business results ahead by a decade! Now I have 20 permanent staff (and before you ask, no, there’s no outsourced employees from India, lol) and it’s all working like a well oiled machine…. most days!
Of course, if you can’t afford a real 1 on 1 mentor then there are some new online courses that teach all ‘the hows’ of a profitable design business… I’d tell you about the best one, but I don’t want to push my own business on Jacob’s site! :p
Bianca, feel free to share!
Hey Bianca, this is really good advice. Thank you very much. And yes, please do share!
Web123’s ProPartner Program came about because I wanted to share everything I’ve learned as I evolved from a freelance graphic designer to a CEO running a booming web design business.
Inside the program is all ‘the hows’ of what got me there. I’ve loaded it up with every successful trick, tip and business tactic I’ve ever used. From sales & marketing and profitable quoting to dealing with nightmare clients and hiring the right staff.
There are 100s of videos and guides, admin email templates, examples of quoting proposals, plus we have master classes in areas like sales and quoting and effective project management. It’s exactly what a designer needs to run a profitable business.
As you can probably tell, I’m really passionate about this because it’s exactly what I was looking for when I started out but it didn’t exist… until now! Oh well, it only took me 10 years and about $100k of self-education and mentoring to get here 😉
If you wanted to take a peek, it’s over at web123partner.com.au.
P.S. On a side note, we’ve just signed a large printing franchise to the program because they wanted access to our web builder software (yes that’s part of the ProPartner Program too). We hadn’t considered printers might be interested in what we believed to be a designer-centric program. But they saw us as the easiest way to produce websites and educate their franchisees in HOW to run a profitable web design business. Dare I say, this is more proof that the print industry is in trouble and needs to shift to digital?
Glad to see the print industry is slowly migrating though! Thanks for sharing Bianca.
your link is dead….
oops I missed an S in that link, sorry! 🙂
You are definitely right about being a great typographer over a great programmer. I didn’t realize how valuable my typography classes were until I left school.
I’m with you on the idea that there is a “shift” from printed to digital media. I lot of my ProPartners are printing shops looking to move into web design / developer, simply because the money isn’t as abundant their anymore. As you say, print is on the decline and digital is on the rise.
Interesting insight into your partners, thanks for sharing Bianca.
Hi Jeesun, Yes, several of my categories were a similar. i used to be simply invariably questioning if the academics should/ area unit allowed to try and do that. If I wished to observe the tutorials I wouldn’t attend the university.
hi to every one ..
I have few questions brealking my head plz answr me..
Recently i joined and working as a graphic designer on adobe softwares.
How would be my career if i continue as a designer…?
What are the added advantages of learning the devoloper skills like jquery,html5 and etc for the designer..?
how can i build my career as good graphic designer..?
Your career is what you make of it to be honest… do you want to be a web designer, graphic designer or a developer? Maybe an art director. At the very least you will need the basic design principles down, so I would start there. Here: https://justcreative.com/2008/06/13/how-to-design-learn-the-basics/
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