I guess I’m blessed for being good at and enjoying both technical and creative sides of being a Web Designer. On the other hand, maybe it’s not that of a blessing, since I don’t possess killer programming skills of Linus Torvalds nor am I as talented as Saul Bass, or many other less prominent graphic designers. But at least I am not being intimidated neither by code nor by design and always tried to encourage my students-designers to give another chance to learning a programming language, and my students-programmers to discover their hidden creative side. Sometimes I succeeded, but admittedly, the majority of times I failed. I always wondered – why? My friend Ronald Huereca finally answered why. This is Ronald’s second guest post on Inspiration Bit. He’s not afraid of turning WordPress inside out and getting hands dirty with writing plugins, but apparently he’s intimidated by Graphic Design.
I’m sure we’ve all been there: a person sees you working on a website or goofing around in Photoshop and all of a sudden you’re their new best friend.
“Hey man, you can help build my next website!” or, “Hey dude, how ’bout you design me a new logo?”
I sit there and scratch my head and blurt out, “But I’m not a designer.”
“But, but… You’re doing everything a designer does!” my new best friend states.
“No, I’m not… I’m not doing anything even remotely close to what a real designer does. And here’s why…”
I present to you the eight things that intimidate me about the world of graphic design.
Normally guys like me would be bragging to no end about their “hardware”, but real designers always got me beat.
Sure, I’ve got my relatively new and shiny MacBook Pro, but that isn’t anything compared to the designer with a Mac Pro, two 30″ Cinema Displays, a kick-ass tablet, and a creative mind to boot.
I simply can’t compete. Nor do I really want to. I’m fine using my 17″ screen, my 19″ LCD as a second monitor, and my “wired” mouse. Yes, you just saw “wired” (somebody stole my wireless one).
It’s almost a given that every designer lives and breaths Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. But I’ve just now gotten the hang of removing people in Photoshop, much less editing or creating vectors and illustrations in Illustrator, or creating complex page layouts in InDesign.
When I read “a beginner’s guide to Illustrator” and was still lost, I knew something was wrong. I said to myself, “I’ll learn it when I need it, which could be never.”
And besides the obvious design apps, there’s the print apps such as Quark, Acrobat, and others that I have a vague clue how to go about using.
I don’t love typography. In fact, I know very little about it other than the fact that practically every designer absolutely hates Comic Sans.
I don’t spend hours surfing through font websites because the chances of me spending a dime on a “coveted” font are nil. Spend something on some characters?! Are you nuts?
My idea of typography selection is scrolling through the “Font Family” drop-down box and deciding what looks cool.
Yes, I’m aware that certain fonts go good together. But I’m not sure why, and will probably never care to know.
When Vivien wrote the Do’s and Don’t of Colour, she might as well have said, “Don’t be like this guy” with a finger pointing at me.
I can navigate a color wheel, but I have no idea where I’m going. After a while the colors start to all blend in together and I can’t tell magenta from cyan.
With color, I need help and I need help bad. Fortunately there are many great tools out there to help the color challenged out there.
And speaking of color, if you really want to start sounding like a designer, use the cooler and more elegant word “colour”.
The Golden Ratio
The “Golden Ratio”, if I’m interpreting it correctly, is the size of one element when compared to an adjacent element. If I’m wrong, forgive me. I’m not a designer.
If I was barely treading water in the first five points, the “Print” point is where I start putting on my cement boots.
A few days ago I began reading the three devastating mistakes every designer will make. The points?
- Submitting incorrectly setup files such as ppi (pixels per inch?), color mode, and file type.
- Sending RGB images to the printer. Ooops.
- Submitting low-res images. You mean, the Flickr ones won’t do? Damn.
I could relate to some of the points, but definitely not the first one where it talked about file setup. I’ve never done a print job. I probably never will. Once again, I’m not a designer!
Remember my new best friend? He wants to be my client. But what he doesn’t know is I have no clue how to handle one. I don’t know what to charge, and frankly, I can think of other people way more qualified than myself.
I don’t want to have to deal with contracts, money collecting, or people stiffing me. I don’t want to deal with changing requirements, scope creep, or maintenance.
So rather than pretend that I’m a real designer and take on clients, I accept reality and tell them to move on.
And my final point has to deal with graphic design terminology.
What the heck is a CMYK? Isn’t that a clothing line? “No!” a real graphic designer would say. “If you had only read the graphic design glossary, you would have realized it stood for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black.”
Yes, it irritates me when people don’t know what a PSD or AI are, but what about when someone says, “Hey, do you have that in EPS?” I would stare at them absolutely clueless.
So as you can imagine, my new best friend is now my new ex-best friend. I told him I wasn’t a designer and I wasn’t going to design his lovely new website or new logo.
“I’m sorry.” I told him, “I’m just not a designer.”
This is an entry for the $5000+ PRIZE GIVEAWAY – Graphic Design Group Writing Project on Just Creative Design. The deadline is March 4th, 2008 if you are interested in taking part.