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Where has the variation gone in Graphic Design?

Discussion in 'Graphic Design Forum:' started by rosscolfc, Nov 24, 2009.

  1. rosscolfc

    rosscolfc New Member

    Ok this may sound like another moan but its not supposed to be, im just very "frank" with my opinions.

    I don't see my self as a Artist! I am a Graphic Designer, I have words and image to create a piece of work that either sells or informs. If you asked me to design a Death Metal CD cover i could do it, but at the same time i could design a program for a Classical Opera. Just like if you wanted branding for a drugs rehab centre or a children's day nursery I could come up with several ideas.

    So why when i look at so many peoples portfolios, do designer seem to be pidgeon holing them selves in a particular style! for example, I love punk music, Liverpool FC and Fishing but i don't put red check, and pictures of carp in all my designs! because that would be a creation for my tastes and not the client!

    Does anyone else know what i mean? or am i just ranting again :p
  2. SparkCreative

    SparkCreative Member

    No you're not ranting. It's true in a lot of cases. Style over content is all over the place. I was always taught to have an idea, then make the design relevant to the content of what you're designing. It seems that a lot the kids now are all about - "This is my style, and I'm going to shoehorn your brand into it, no matter how inappropriate." And they design logos in Photoshop. Which is just ridiculous. They look up web tutorials on how to do an 'effect' and then simply have to use it on their next piece of work.

    I realise I'm generalising, and there a re a lot of good people out there, but it has been noticed by a lot of people in the industry that I talk to. Maybe it's because the design courses now are twice as full as they used to be (thanks for that, New Labour), and also that they have to try and learn so many other skills in college now - web design, html, etc etc. We spent a year just drawing and having ideas. And then we learnt typography, layout, grids etc. The basics. I'm not sure they have so much time to so that any more - everything moves so much faster, it's easy to fall back on an effect or technique as oppose to actually thinking of a pertinent idea. I know everyone's sometimes guilty of this, including me, but it nw seems to be the norm.

    Ok, now I'm ranting too...
  3. Katedesign

    Katedesign Well-Known Member

    I do agree with both of you. I have just picked up a card from someone where the logo makes them look like ribbon sellers. . . but in fact they supply support for elderly and 'otherwise challenged' people. (Home helps etc I imagine) But some one has come up with a 'logo' . . .

    I am on a 'steering committee' for a new Design Diploma for 16-19yrs so hopefully I can steer it back to basics. It does seem that kids aren't being taught basics in college/uni and yet they all come out with degrees! Oh dear are we showing our age?
  4. JMCDesigner

    JMCDesigner Member

    I've seen a lot of graphic design web portfolios that look the same - block of colour at the bottom of the page with a drop shadow and a bunch of links to twitter etc

    Having said that I think there has always been style freaks who can't work outside of their own style
  5. SparkCreative

    SparkCreative Member

    Yeah there's definitely a generic website look at the moment. Maybe the fault of Wordpress etc? People learn the tool and then design around what it can do rather than doing it the other way around.
  6. rosscolfc

    rosscolfc New Member

    i would love to get more involved with education, I always thought i wanted to be a high flying agency person but everyday that goes by i feel the need to inspire people.

    Can I ask how did you get involved with education? Im not 100% teacher ready but i feel i have a lot to offer as a volunteer or teaching assistant.
  7. Katedesign

    Katedesign Well-Known Member

    I used to be an Art Teacher and was invited as they need to involve businesses with the setting up of this Diploma.

    A good way to start in education is to mentor pupils. Ask at your local secondary schools if they have a mentoring scheme. You will get the more 'difficult' pupil but very often out of the shcool environment they are completely different and very good kids. Certainly a way to inspire!

    Or contact the Art department at schools or colleges and ask if they would like someone to give an idea/talk of what being a graphic designer is like in the big bad world. I have promised to do that to a friend who teaches 'graphics' at GCSE but is really a PE teacher!
  8. aarkid

    aarkid New Member

    - We should also be aware of how this looks from another point of view:

    As you all know, the design world has changed dramatically in recent years - it means anyone with half brain can design a website / logo / poster / brand ID. So what makes a designer stand out from the crowd? - one of 2 things -

    1. Pure professionalism: They design beautifully easy sites on time/ to budget, that WORK and help their clients' audience to navigate all the information. These sites suit the client's needs like a glove.
    If you design for the client in this way - then each client will get something that suits their industry or niche -
    - this means there will be little variation for that type of client, whoever does their designing.
    - eg: all boutique chocolate producers will have a similar style on their sites.

    2. Individualistic style: This is another way to get work and to get known, it's equally valid..
    If individual designers have a particular strong personal style to their work,then whilst these are often the least versatile designers, they provide the strongest real variation.

    You asked: "Where has the variation gone in Graphic Design?"
    To knock those 'individualists' is wrong, when they are the ones providing the variation and who often create the styles that type 1 designers follow. ( and make money from.)

    I thought it was worth trying to see a different point of view.

    - aarkid 3D product configurators -
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2009
  9. SparkCreative

    SparkCreative Member

    ...but not a good one.
  10. CloudCover

    CloudCover New Member

    I do think there's some validity in the argument that client expectations shut down creativity. A lot of my work is based around flyers and mailshots for events, so that may skew my perspective, but I tend to find that the average client's wishlist goes like this:

    1. Flyer must be produced on time.
    2. Flyer must 'look like a DnB flyer', or a 'Classical recital flyer', or whatever.
    3. Flyer must not cost too much to make.

    Given said wishlist, I often find that it's both impractical timewise to get really creative and also rarely well-received by the client. I'm sure it's different once you start working on larger scale projects, but I think the proliferation of fairly interchangeable design work can be traced to this kind of thinking in a lot of cases.

    Don't get me wrong, I'd love to be an artist with a fierce sense of creative pride in everything I do. But I'm not, and can't afford to be. When I get an open brief I go wild with it, have loads of fun and usually end up billing about a quarter of the hours I actually spent on the project. The rest of the time? Well, I accept that I'm a jobbing designer, that there are people out there with more resources, more training and more talent, and I get on with making a living. I know or learn the style that each client is looking for, and I concentrate on getting it done to their satisfaction. It's not very purist, and I wish it didn't have to be that way, but as long as the client is happy in the end and I've got the rent covered it's a job that makes me happier than working in an office 9 - 5. Personally I reckon that's legitimate.
  11. CloudCover

    CloudCover New Member

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