Blessedly Full of Problems to Solve
By Erika Goering,
Filed under: Information Architecture, KCAI, Learning, Read&Respond
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10 New Year’s Resolutions for Designers
This article made me feel like I should adopt this list as my own personal roadmap as a designer. I should make it my mission to always push myself further. This isn’t just a goal for college; this is a goal for life. I’ve found that I make almost all of the mistakes mentioned in this article. And I’m proud of that. Because I’m learning from it.
The one that really hit close to home was number four. “Stop being your own obstacle.” This is basically what I was doing sophomore year. I designed the way I thought was “right” or what I thought the teachers and my classmates wanted. I also got really depressed. Go figure.
Stop designing the compromises you expect to have to make. Your fear of being wrong wins out over your fear of having to convince someone you’re right. Your client is in your head with you. Telling you to make the photo smaller, the logo bigger, paginating the multi-page article. You’re choosing the typeface you think your client will like, not the one that solves the problem best.
I’m happy to say I’ve pretty much tackled number four. Since last summer, I’ve been designing for the situation; not the client/boss/teacher. And my work has gotten a lot better. And so have my grades. And my mood, as well.
Number six was pretty much how I tackled last semester. And I felt like a BAMF.
Don’t be the designer who gets proficient and then stops. It’s easy to make a steady living doing that one thing you’re really good at. Until something comes along and obliterates it. Aim higher. Remember those guys who were really good at Debabelizer? (Ask your parents.) Don’t spend your career satisfied with doing things you’re good at – try to do things you’re not good at. You’ll eventually be good at more things, and you’ll know what you honestly suck at. And you’ll have a longer career.
There’s a ton of great shit coming down the pike this year, including stuff that’s gonna surprise us. Not to mention the stuff we’re still getting used to from last year. The future’s not only fun, it’s messy. Welcome it with open arms.
I talked specifically about getting messy with experimentation last semester. And it really did pay off. I’m learning who I am as a designer and as a person. I’m aware of my own growth now. It’s pretty sweet.
Moral of the story: Do lots of things. Do them wholeheartedly. Read, write, articulate. Stand up for your work. It’ll stand up for you. Design with passion. Design with balls. Good things will come.
The title of this article was the first thing to get me thinking. Because it’s true. The vast majority of the web is text. And that text is how information is spread. And how that text is designed can influence the interpretation and even the perceived credibility of the source.
And that’s what I gathered before I even read the thing.
When I started paying more attention, more nuggets of knowledge started to emerge.
The typographer shouldn’t care too much what kind of fonts he has at his disposal. Actually the choice of fonts shouldn’t be his major concern. He should use what is available at the time and use it the best he can.
This implies that, CSS3 font hacks aside, because the web and its users may be limited in the way of typefaces, web designers must use what they have to their best potential. Hierarchy and contrast come to mind. Use those header tags!
Also, treating “text as a user interface” is a really brilliant way of describing the content-user relationship when it comes to typography. When a person reads, they need to be able to navigate throughout the article/website with the same ease as an intuitive GUI. It’s all about putting things in easy-to-find places, with easy-to-recognize hierarchy. I’m not saying users should be treated as though they’re stupid; they should be treated as though they are human. People recognize patterns. Use that to your advantage.
Reactions to Web Design is 95% Typography
It’s true: Most people still do not understand the medium. Clients with random Internet experience often have the misconception that a website is like a cheap TV-ad that leads their customers directly into the store. All I have to say here: Explain to them what the medium is about. It’s about information. It’s not about shopping, it’s not about advertisement, it’s not linear. It’s about communication in one of its most competitive forms. Communication and not effects – that is what we should be concerned about as designers.
This is exactly the problem with the web. While the experience of reading text is usually linear, the internet medium itself is not. At all. So, the big design problem is: how do we fit a square peg into a shapeless hole?
Our job as designers is to shape that hole. Build a plan, a system, a structure. We are information architects.