Design Issues

 In Summer blogging - Thesis

In addition to the communities I had to post 20 current design issues:

1. Combining Typefaces
I feel like a lot of designers struggle with this. It’s hard to figure out what two (maybe more?) typefaces you should use together. The main thing to take into consideration is whether or not the work is for print or for the web.

Smashing Magazine Article
Smashing Magazine has a great beginner’s article on how to properly pair typefaces.

Hoelfer Fere-Jones
The creators of Gotham and other great Typefaces have a great writeup on the issue as well.

2. Paid vs. Unpaid Internships
This seems to be one of the biggest topics amongst the students and even the faculty. At first, an unpaid internship seems like an incredibly rewarding experience. Then you begin to realize that they are using your work and they didn’t have to spend a dime (this is not the case for all of them).

These companies and firms need to realize that we are serious about what we do. Yes we value the experience. But we’re not going to school to do this for free. Some companies won’t even take travel expenses into consideration. How do they expect us to get there in the first place?

Given what has happened recently with the Black Swan interns, it doesn’t seem like this won’t be a debate for too long.

On Unpaid Internships
Gives a sort of positive side of the unpaid internships. Raises pretty good points too.

3. Print vs. Digital Design
A big discussion in the design world. Is print design dying out? Is digital the future? Personally, I prefer print over digital. With print, you are able to interact with the work on a more personal level. You don’t have distractions like a keyboard and mouse.

Web Design vs Print
A deign agency’s write up on the topic

4. Your work being original
With so many influences around us it almost seems like it is impossible to have original work. The work we do has at least one influence from somewhere on it. But how many influences do you have to have before your work isn’t original anymore? What constitutes originality in work? How original the concept is? Or how original the design itself is?

How to find inspiration and stay original

5. Payment as a freelance designer and how much to charge
I’m struggling with this myself now. I just simply have no idea how to gauge how much to charge. I don’t know if I should go by the hour or project. I am just simply at a loss with it. On top of that, it’s hard to convince the client of the rate. I had one tell me “oh wow for that price, I could just buy InDesign and do it myself” Yea, go ahead.

How much to charge
A good beginner’s guide to figuring out what to charge.

By hour or flat rate?

6. Mac vs. PC
Not really sure this is a design issue but I have overheard conversations here and there as to what OS Creative Suite runs better on. People say Windows because it uses less resources. Others say OSX because Photoshop was exclusive to Mac when it first came out (based off of that, Adobe has made sure to put their focus on OSX).

In addition, there is software exclusive to OSX and exclusive to Windows. The obvious ones are the systems apps like the basic photo editing ones. But some like Coda (which I think is great for coding) are only available on OSX. Come to think of it, why do we use Macs? Why not a Windows PC? From my experience, Macs hold up much better than PCs. A lot more can be said about this topic.

Mac vs PC

7. The Creative Process
I have to start this by saying that I believe there is no set design process. It is definitely different for everyone. But I think it also depends on what one is working on. The process for brand identity could definitely be different than what it is for say a website. But a website design that is part of a brand identity project is different than one that is a standalone website.

It could be challenging for a designer to figure out how to tackle a project. But it’s definitely valuable once mastered.

Avoiding cliches in the design process

8. Color and how to use/select it
Color is something I (along with many others) struggle with. I sometimes don’t even know where to begin when picking a color. I’ll usually have a general idea of a scheme I want but sometimes I reach dead end when actually trying to decide on color. Thankfully there are tools such as Kuler to help with that (but then that goes back to the originality of work).

Color Theory for Designers
Yet another Smashing Magazine article, but I have to say, this is a great guide. I refer to it a lot.

9. Networking and obtaining clients
First, I can’t decide as to whether or not this impacts freelancers more or firms. In either case, it’s a hard thing to do. How can you convince someone that you are the one for the job without scaring them away with the price?

The hardest part about this is doing it for the first time. How the hell do you make a debut with only school work to show? With technology practically dominating out lives, it’s something that can be used to our advantage when networking.

Why Designers need a Branding Strategy
One way to help a designer get clients

10. Good vs Bad Design
What constitutes good and bad design? Are there instances where a poor execution of a concept can outweigh a good design? Therefore making it bad design? Or is it solely based on the visual? What rules should it follow? (using a grid vs not using a grid) I guess this could go along feedback you receive from other people. One person could give you great feedback while another can tear you apart.

What Makes Good Graphic Design

11. Design schools
It is necessary to attend a school that solely focuses on design? (RISD and Basel for example) Can it really make much of a difference? Or do employers just want to know if you can design? Schools like those I mentioned can be very pricey. It is already difficult enough for one to obtain financial aid for a state school. How are we supposed to for a private school?

The Industry
Good Article that tackles this. That first quote is perfect, “You don’t know what you don’t know.”

12. Flat Design
Man this feels like it came out of nowhere. I started noticing a lot after I jailbroke my iPhone. All of these designers started making flat ui’s for the iPhone. It was a little insane. Then Apple announced that iOS 7 would be stripped of all of the skeuomorphism (a term most associated with Apple). Even that UI has received some pretty harsh criticism, especially with the use of gradients (honestly, I only see two icons that go overboard with that). People just seems afraid of change.

Back to Flat Design. Is it really the correct route for digital based media? Should websites adopt this flat concept as well as icons? Microsoft’s Windows 8 has a completely flat look. So flat that icons (or tiles) just have one color and the typography is left to deliver the information.

I personally like all of this flat design, especially on phones. It feels slick to me. Is it a little overdone? Probably.

Authentic Design
A good article I came across a while ago that has to do with flat design (but focuses a little more on “Authentic Design”).

13. Green Design
This is something I just started noticing recently. I actually never even gave any thought to it. But it seems it focuses on designers being green with their design. Meaning, being mindful of the materials that use and making sure that you use all of them to your advantage. Again, it’s something I have recently noticed. But I think it’s something all designers should embrace.

Going Green in Graphic Design
For me, this is a great article, especially since I’m still new to the idea.

14. Interactive Design
This brings a whole new meaning to graphic design. When I first started studying graphic design in high school, I saw it as a way to convey a clear message to an audience. I never though it could be a way to have viewers interact with the information. iPads (or more broadly, Tablets) and Apps in general are great example of this. Even some websites that involve the viewer.

But I don’t believe this topic has to be constrained to just digital media. There are many ways to interact the viewer on print. Moving things around on pages, using 3-D objects, scratch offs to reveal a hidden message. There are endless possibilities.

Where’s the Graphic Designer in the graphical user interface?
This is SUCH a good paper on this topic. A good read if you want to see how graphic designers have had to respond to the rise of interaction design. (don’t download the PDF. I just went through a ridiculous setup to download it)

15. Graphic Design Education
Not to be confused with design schools.

With so many different technologies available (along with the internet), it is so easy for people to get their hands on any software they want. Almost anyone that knows how to work a computer can figure out how to get a copy of Creative Suite and mess around with it. But, people that do this and try and go straight out into the working world really have no formal training in Graphic Design.

We know that just because one has the software at their disposal, it doesn’t make them a designer. But how do explain that to a client? How can you educate a client the importance of choosing a professional designer over some high school kid who downloaded the software?

I make this separate from the question of whether or not the need to attend a Design School is necessary because you can still get quality education in design in a state school. Someone who doesn’t go to school for design (or even art in general) may never understand basic concepts such as composition, hierarchy, use of typefaces, which ones are good and which ones to avoid (Comic Sans). I believe there is a great need for a good history in Graphic Design. After taking Design Theory and Criticism, a lot of what I see makes even more sense. It becomes easier to see where influences come from. It also impresses employers to talk about such things during an interview (at least, I was able to impress).

“Do I need a Graphic Design Degree?
Quick write up on the benefits of having one.

Another 5 reasons to get a degree

16. Aspects of a Brand Identity
This one could be more of a challenge rather than issue. Still, it should be discussed.

I feel like this is the most complex project a designer could take on. There are so many different layers that go into it. Sometimes you could be asked to design just a logo, but it doesn’t stop there. The logo that is designed for the company is just one small piece of a brand identity. Like with all projects, a designer’s approach to a brand identity is going to be different than his/her approach to a website. But, that website can wind up being part of the identity.

When I say aspects I am not limiting it to just what makes up a brand. I want to include the design process, preparation and anything else that a designer would need to do to get ready for a project that big.

Branding Explained
A handout that I actually had in Design Apps. Very good breakdown of this topic.

Branding Basics Every Designer Should Know
I find these to be useful.

David Airey’s Design Process
Here, this designer has listed his process for a brand identity.

Designing a Brand Identity
Pretty lengthy write up on the topic.

17. Technology
There are so many different technologies (hardware and software) available to us today how do we know which to use? Also what roles does it play in design and the process? I remember asking Hans Allemann how technology has impacted him and his response was was incredibly positive. He said it allowed him to do things that took an unbelievable amount of time to do.

Technology’s Impact on Design

18. Spec Work
Or design contests. But Spec Work I am more opposed to. Basically, clients want to see some options before they even decide to hire you. Isn’t that what our portfolios are for? Why should we have to do designs with guidelines when we’re not even getting paid for it?

I’ll admit, some contests seem cool enter. Dave Matthews Band had one to design a ticket stub and offered all of these amazing prizes. But then I thought, if I don’t even get picked, I would have sunk all of these hours into it when I could have used that time for something else.

AIGA’s Position on Spec Work

Why Spec Work is Bad

19. Coding as a Graphic Designer
A friend of mine is studying Graphic Design up at RIT and he started complaining that he had to learn how to code. It bothered him because he feels as though once employers see that he knows HTML and CSS, that’s all he is going to be used for. He doesn’t want to be associated with developers, he believes that designers and developers should be kept separate from each other. I disagree. HTML and CSS was something I always wanted to learn. Could never really teach it to myself. Now that I have taken Design for The Web, I have a great understanding of how it works. Also, it adds valuable skills to my resume.

I believe Graphic Designers should learn code. How does one plan to maintain their own portfolio? Even more, how does one plan to make a portfolio to stand out from the rest?

Should Graphic Designers learn to code?

20. Graphic Design as art
Based on my observations, studies and today’s discussion, Graphic Design has always been about the client/content and never about the designer. This class is a perfect example of a design that is a representation of the designer. So when can Graphic Design be considered a fine art? Has it always been considered one?

Art is a representation of one’s self. It is supposed to provoke an emotion in the viewer where as graphic design is supposed to only deliver a message. But can there be designs that are considered art? Can they do more than just deliver a message?

I think a majority of us has come from some sort of art background. If we are creative enough to come up with great designs I think we can find a way to bring an artistic aspect to our work.

Difference between Graphic Design and Fine Art

Graphic Design is not Art
An angry person venting that designers are not artists.