The thing about the design community.

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts whose sole aim was to rant about other post. Being some kind of sheep, I’ll do the same right now. And you’ll probably agree with me, because, in fact, all those posts are true in a way.
First there was Clients from Hell, and then there was Do not read clients from hell, because you know better.
First there was the Paula Scher interview, and then ther was it’s countepart by Eric Karjualoto.
First there were post containing lists, and then posts saying than lists sucked.
First there were posts ranting about uneducated clients, and now, there’re posts saying how bad we, designers, are uneducated and not able to educate our clients.

As a matter of fact, the community loves to talk. And loves to complain too, but that’s human nature. I wonder if there’s any other other community ( as in “people sharing the same jobs”) where people are so incline to talk about what they do and how they do it, and how it should be done. There even were posts about how bad was the community to design itself — because of the lists, the inspiration posts, the likeness of everything declared awesome by the peers. Right. this is probably not that good — but is well-balanced by the fact that the community is also full of resources, exchanges, discussions and friendship. Among all those things, the real problem I see is that, wanting to pursue every articles’ ideal designer behaviour, one might get lost and confused as what is really good for him/her.

As an example, we’re told quite often about educating our clients — I’m thinking about a peculiar Smashing Magazine post here — but how does that apply in real life? If you are not in a position to negociate, let alone your own boss. As much as you’d love to tell a client how much his choice is wrong regarding design concerns, you can’t always have the final word on this. People telling you not to work with those assholes clients? Yes, right, again if you have the choice, and can afford it.

In the end, all those posts about do & don’ts, what good and what’s wrong, what you should do and what would be considered an awful sin by the law of God designers all lead you in a sort of guilty confusion. Am I a good designer? Am I a coward for not fighting my client? Am I an awful person for enjoying a good laugh at horror client stories?
It’s not that I don’t like those articles.
I’ve wrote some of them, most for my own inspiration and motivation, in the past. Now, the more I read, the more I feel confused. There are rules I want to follow, about color theory, UI design, golden ratio and such. But being told how I should talk to a client or what I’m supposed to read in order to be a good designer? I don’t know. I don’t feel comfortable with that.
I thought being a designer, which means to me being a problem solver, involved a great part of unique individual sensibility. There are things great designers have in common, like an eye or an ability to understand people. But I don’t feel like they should all endorse the same behavior pattern, as described in most of the recent articles. More than pushing you forward to discover what works for you, they try to much to impose a repetitive scheme. Again I wrote some of those, and am not really sure it helped anyone in this case.

I do wonder, though, if one should not stop reading the community’s articles and start focusing more on what really works in his/her context, his/her environment, his/her own work pattern or maybe just taking a hint from time to time from those, without reading all of it. There’s not one and only solution. But it’s definitely not in someone’s else writing.

Yes, this post is a total rant, yet again. You can comment, disagree, shout, or send me flowers if you want to. The point is, as long as you don’t obey blindly anything I wrote here it’ll be fine by me.


Filed under: Everyday life, Graphic Design & trends

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  1. Bianca says:

    I really hope people to synthesize the information given to them, like we do. Living in extremes and “do’s and don’ts” rarely benefit anyone. Great article, hope people read it.

  2. Ryan says:

    I’m sure there’s irony in me and others reading your post… haha :P

  3. Zélia says:

    Thank you!
    Unfortunately, many people, (and I don’t exclude myself from that category) tend to gall easily under the do’s and don’ts. It an everyday fight to get over this, really — but I found that many posts lately have been quite on the passive-agressive orders. And that really made my skin crawl :/

  4. Well, it’s been a while that I’ve tried to write a comments in english but, anyway, I think it’s important to respect your blog language. And then, in the end, it’s not bad to practice a little bit. :P

    As you say in your post, those kind of articles are not very accurate in their content most of the time. But don’t let us be fooled by all the “we write what we really think” “wanna be” credo about the bloggers, the first thing they want it’s a big traffic. In the Internet culture (well… in life too), the credibility is almost always a question of popularity. So, to be read, they have to write things thats looks clear, easy to follow and full-proof. :P

    There is no such thing about human interaction. There is no such thing about human decisions.

    In a mather of fact, the only thing you can do is ask yourself one question “What are you, in a personal mather, ready to do?”. When, in the process, are starting to feel corrupted, dirty or just unfair. When are you feeling like an impostor? A fake?

    In the end, it’s all about this. In my case, I won’t be able to deal with clients if I’m a designer. It’s as simple as that. It’s against my values to create something awful for someone even if it’s what he or she wants. I just can’t put my name as a designer on something I’m not proud of. I just can’t prostitute my talent.

    But, if I’m opening a studio or an agency as a manager and president, the way I’ll be involve in the creative process would allow me to think more in a marketing way than in a “create best thing” way.

    Even in a team, we always have to care about us. Otherwise, we’ll be sad and nobody we’ll get what they need. Even if it’s money, glory or just happyness.

  5. Cho Yung says:

    thanks for sharing such valuable information in regards of design community, really helped to me, may be beneficial to other also.

  6. Tulip Kiya says:

    Thanks for taking the time to share this, I feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic. If possible, as you gain knowledge.

  7. andy says:

    Hi, thanks for the info, its been very informative. Ive subscribed to the feed and will look out for some more great info. Thank for putting together such a great site.

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