When I meet with art students and I ask them what they plan to do with their art, they’ll say… “I want to be a graphic designer”, like somehow being able to draw really good means that they’ll be a good designer.
I think the graphic artist of the past were true artist – craftsman. The ability to hand-set type and “create” their piece of collateral is truly an art form. Graphic designers, I feel, are information architects, crafting the message with image and type –well, takes more than just being able to draw a pretty picture. When I explain the research, mock-ups, revisions, decisions that all go into making a piece of communication. The young artist, takes a step back and says, “What, you do all that!” I always caution students that want become a designer, you have to be an excellent listener, an astute observer, a passionate researcher, an English word smith, at times a mathematician, and that is all before you ever put your pencil to the page – mouse to the computer. I’m not saying that artists should never become designers? I’m simply stating that the transition should not be taken lightly.
Designers are not artists? Graphic designers: design information that conveys a message. The main purpose of a designer is to make the message paramount. Although it can be done in an “artsy” way, the main function is the message. Over the past couple years many designers, or I would categorize them as digital artist, has embraced this trend of embellishing a product or brand. Some to the point where the brand itself is lost, kind of like “that little ol’ product is somewhere in that ad, I know it is” syndrome. Wanting to convey the essence of something is one thing, but then it becomes the only thing and when everyone else is doing the same thing, what does that say about the brand? I think our job as designers is to speak up and say, “what does this have to do with the brand”? “How is surrounding our product by a bunch of out-dated flourishes and crazy colors have to do with that we are selling?”
What is trendy is a trend and nothing more. The trend of an artist thinking they can jump into design without the proper education is old and the designer who wants every product in the world to be a piece of art is also old.
Let’s think of something new, maybe the trend could be stop using old trends? Education and a constant awareness need to be at the fore front of this change.
What are your thoughts?