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Discussion on Starting a Design Workshop

Discussion in 'Graphic Design Forum:' started by Signor, Jun 13, 2016.

  1. Signor

    Signor New Member

    I'm a thinking of starting a design workshop & wondered if anyone's interested. I'm not planning on teaching applications, there's plenty of sites that do that. What I'm going to teach is the thinking behind design. Concepts, typography, layout etc, whether it's for print or digital.

    The complaint I've been hearing over & over from art directors is they have a team that is great at using applications but don't really get design & I'm hoping to help change this.

    I plan to do a 6 week course. There will be a live online lecture once a week with a project set at the end of the lecture. The project will need to be completed by the following lesson, where we will discuss what's been produced.

    I'm opening it to only 8 students, so we can really focus on getting a lot done each week.

    Does this interest you?
  2. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    Wow, I have the opposite experience.

    Lots of great designers creating lots of wonderful designs, but complete twats at designing for print, where it's near impossible to untangle the print file to something usable. With whites set to knockout, metalic inks set to overprint, text size too small... it's a pain.
  3. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member

    I agree with Hank, I knew so many grads that came out of uni with their degree, know all the theory, but struggle to put it into practice as their course (like mine) did not do much practical work on the computer. I didn't even learn to use Adobe Illustrator until I got my first design job a year after graduating, several years ago.

    Also, how can you be great at using a design application, if you don't grasp the concept of design?
  4. Signor

    Signor New Member

    Really? I'm getting the complete opposite. When I was hiring, I saw visually amazing portfolios but when I spoke to the designers, it became clear they had very little understanding of design. Their work was extremely ill matched to the client...& these weren't graduates. The thing I found most worrying, was many couldn't even explain the thinking behind their work.

    Now, my weekends are full of the joys of moaning art directors....and a large number of them. All saying the same thing about designers being great with the software but having little imagination and producing at best, mediocre work.

    You guys seem to have it good. You need to share the wealth :D
  5. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    devils advocate... the client might have been happy with the design that was supplied, design is after all subjective and it's ultimately the client we need to keep happy.

    I can't speak for others here but I can't always explain my designs to other people especially weeks/months after I did the actual design/project. Not to mention there are times when 'natural instinct' just kicks in with design and it just flows.

    Hank you'd like me then :) Whenever I work with a new printer (very rare for my main work) the first thing I do is contact them, if they don't have the instructions online, and ask what their preferences/size restrictions etc are.
  6. Signor

    Signor New Member

    I see design quite differently. I don't believe it's subjective so much, sure you may like blue & I prefer green but at the end of the day, you're actually hired to solve a problem & VERY often clients don't know what they want. They know their business but hire a designer as the professional to help them solve a problem. I've never been a 'just make the client happy' designer. I'd rather help educate the client & work with them so they have something that will help their business/campaign.

    Again, I'm quite different with ideas too. I can explain work that is years old & I think if you're showing work in your portfolio, you should be able to explain it. People are going to ask questions & if you can't answer them, it doesn't fill me with much faith...but that's just me.
  7. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member

    I couldn't agree with @Signor more, although you should be able to explain your own work, with a good design you shouldn't have to. I can explain a piece of work from 10 years ago, just as much as I can a design piece from yesterday, if I needed to. Art is subjective, while good design is quite the opposite, as it should convey the same message, idea, action, feeling, behaviour to everyone. If a design is telling it's viewers different things, then it is not doing its job.
  8. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    I don't explain the "thinking" behind design anymore, unless it's something conceptual. Nowadays most of my work is web design and UX, which typically allows me to use design patterns that are proved to work, and avoid those that are ill-thought out (carousels for example). It often makes it easier to argue a case since there's research that backs up my rational. There's always that one client who knows what they want and demands it.

    "What's the thinking behind this section? Oh, the client requested it and I wanted to get paid so, ya know…"
  9. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    Design is subjective.... how can you think it isn't.
    Not everyone likes minimalist, not everyone likes grunge in the same way someone might not like the surrealism of Dali but likes the artwork of Mondrian for example

    As to 'make the client happy' work... yeah we all love those projects where they just leave a blank check....
  10. scotty

    scotty Well-Known Member

    Hmmm? Interesting.

    To the original post, I hear a lot of designers starting out (quite a few on here) that want to learn about design theory but don't really want to commit the time and money to college/Uni courses.
    The internet is saturated with tut's for learning software but I don't see too much theory based learning.
    This could be a good way of filling the gap.

    Regarding subjectivity in art and design.
    I don't call myself an artist but with a lot of the jobs I work on I span both design and art.
    With a lot of the murals I do I'm working with a classically trained artist so I tend to see both sides which I think is why we work well together.
    I feel art by its very nature is subjective.
    Some art is created to upset or even disgust and made with the intention of breaking the rules.
    This is something you can rarely get away with in design as generally speaking it is done to please the majority or be seen in a pleasant way which is I guess why there is a bit of a rule book.
    ^^^A bit simplistic I know but I don't want to preach to the converted.^^^
    Saying that, some of the best design come from breaking or bending the riles a bit. ;)

    With designers skills, I think it's down to the individual really.
    I've seen "designers" with killer software skills that do produce mediocre work and then others that are the complete opposite.
    I think it's much easier to learn the tools than the theory though.

    I could also waffle for ages about a piece of design work and I often do given the right situation.
    I think more literally than visually so it's not a problem for me to come up with a back story as pretty much everything I do has one.
    @GCarlD likes this.
  11. Signor

    Signor New Member

    Moderators can this thread be moved to somewhere else, where we can discuss this? It's turned into a 'what is design' post & there's loads I want to reply to.

    I really want this to be read by junior designers or people wanting to get into design, rather than people already established & then we can slog it out on this post without clouding the original message.

    Let me know if it's possible & I'll post a new thread for the workshop, thanks.
  12. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    At the OPs request I have split this thread to fix.
  13. Signor

    Signor New Member

    @hankscorpio Thanks for doing that

    @Paul Murray I've been discussing this way of working with quite a few designers. I'm definitely old school in thinking & was part of the first wave of designers doing 'multimedia'. The thing I find a little sad is that technology has jumped on leaps & bounds since the bad old days but UI design seems to have stalled. EVERYTHING looks the same. You got to a hardcore thrash metal site & it's almost the same template as my bank. We humans are full of contradictions & emotions & I think it's little sad that design is now lead by stats that are proved to work. It's like we're becoming clones or working for machines. It's great to have templates & guides but I think they should be used as guides, not as the gospel & should be pushed & broken.

    @Levi Sure, not everyone likes minimalism but it maybe the perfect answer to solve the problem. The clients & my personal likes have nothing to do with solving a problem. We both may hate the colour red but if I need to show something is hot & dangerous, does that mean we shouldn't use it? This is a topic that is argued back & forward, if it works for you, go for it but for me, I prefer to solve the problem without any limitations.

    There was somebody else I wanted to reply to but I can't see your post anymore.
  14. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member



    One is subjective, with many different meanings depending on ones perception, thoughts, feelings etc.

    The other is very deliberately designed to give one clear message, and can't really be interpreted in any other way.
    scotty likes this.
  15. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    Signor... that's my point, in the same way as art it may 'solve the problem' but it doesn't mean it's liked by everyone, this is how design is subjective.

    Carl, I think you've taken the concept of subjective completely out of context...
  16. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    I agree a lot of sites look the same, often it's because the sites uses a template or is based off another design that the client (or designer) likes. There's still plenty of sites that are creative and fun, the hard part is designing an interface that displays a lot of information, and works on different devices. This is where you see design patterns like 3 columns becoming 1 column on mobile because it works and it's a logical solution.

    I blame the mobile-first approach since this often severely limits what you can and can't do. I face this dilemma all the time, you have a fun, creative idea and the developers dig their heels in saying it's not possible. Often it's not possible because of technical or budget constraints, but I suspect more often that not it's because the developer doesn't want to spend time trying to get it to work.

    At the end of the day though, design is supposed to solve a problem. If that problem is how to display the same content on multiple devices in a logical manner without frustrating or confusing users, then what we currently have is the solution. You could argue that an extra level of 'creativity' on top is superfluous to requirements. Form follows function and all that. ;)
  17. scotty

    scotty Well-Known Member

    That might have been been mine.
    Might not though.

    Cheers Mod's. :(
  18. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    Sorry - that should be back now - :whistle:
    scotty likes this.
  19. scotty

    scotty Well-Known Member

    Cheers Mod's :D
    hankscorpio likes this.
  20. scotty

    scotty Well-Known Member

    That's beautiful Carl. Sniff. ;)
    ash and Paul Murray like this.

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