April 20, 2003

Regarding Design

Often times I hit a wall with design. My process breaks down due to any combination of factors. Sometimes deadlines, technical requirements or just plain laziness can bring about regurgitated design on my part. The urge to just sit down and start moving things around in Illustrator is too overwhelming at times and usually only heralds boxy layouts and static, boring designs. This is not to say I dislike my designs. To the contrary, I think I have done quite well for myself. I try to push my designs visually and technically as much as I can, while all at once working with the previously mentioned requirements (roadblocks?). I have many friends who are designers, and I have often heard of the same problems plaguing them. They get into a similar rut (more times than not, due to time…though video games are also a notorious culprit) and often have to concede to an OK design. This is not to say that their efforts (or mine) are bad by any means. The design work is competent, well organized and serves its purpose fantastically. But, like any trade, good work stands out more because it meets all of the requirements while at the same time going beyond them. Bringing something new, edgy and fresh (as well as other descriptive buzzwords) to the project at hand will make it that much more memorable.

So, time? Yes, time is a bastard. But over the years I have learned how to work faster in programs and get ideas together in a more orderly fashion. Time does play in, though not nearly as much as in the past. I must place the bulk of the blame on imagination. Because of time, technical requirements and laziness I feel as though there isn’t the opportunity to sit down and create something in my head before bringing it all together on the computer. I have tried things in the past to amend this, but it always seems to be half hearted. Because of all this, paired with the desire to better myself and my trade, I have worked to bring about some changes. Namely, to keep a regular sketchbook. Time away from the screen with just a pencil and paper gets my ideas flowing. I am prepared to make mistakes because they are what will bring about ideas. Something different. I don’t get tangled up with worries of shapes and pictures aligning, typeface choices, or color aesthetics. This is more of a personal thing for me because I realize that I need to change. I know how to do a lot technically, but that doesn’t amount to much when your ideas are the same as everyone else’s. I have also helped to bring about a mandatory sketching phase in our projects at work. In attempts to by-pass blame on deadlines, technical requirements and laziness we have added it as a requirement on the project. That way, it is factored into our time table.

We, as designers, are all guilty of this. The computer makes immediate semi-polished design so accessible that after a while one can become dependent on its singular use. Getting to flex my mind creatively may help me come up with things beyond what is immediately available to me on screen. I just have to learn to stop wasting time drawing lewd caricatures and shaded boxes.

Commentary (1):

1. Kevin Cornell says… apr 21, 2003 | 9:39 am

Never stop drawing lewd characters! NEVER STOP!