Since computers began to evolve for the masses, including graphics applications to go with same, it appears that a misconception has grown exponentially: to the extent that years ago the printer from the little print shop around the corner believed that the multi-colored, screaming business cards were the crop of design just because he could use a typesetter, nowadays people who are able to work PowerPoint, Bryce or create some colorful output in a graphic application believe that they are good designers.

My husband summed it up really well: Learning software does not equal knowing how to design. Period.

It is painful to not invalidate the friend of a family member who later in life managed to overcome her fear of technology and who bought a computer and took several computer classes and now almost daily sends out the most awful PowerPoint presentations to share, or birthday cards with a design so bad that it basically defeats the good intent of giving joy – but of course you do not want to break her heart and you DO value the effort she went through sincerely, so you keep your mouth shut and and smile with some effort, and behind that smile you cringe at the tastelessness of mixed together fonts, sizes, placements and colors.

Does such a scene ring a bell of familiarity? Ever found yourself in a similar situation?

It appears at times that “we designers” are a special crop – so utterly trained in creating an effect and to beautify what we come across, that becoming a snob in taste is very easy and probable to happen to a lesser or greater degree.

If it has happened and the head did get stuck in the clouds of self-importance… then a quick, honest and good look around the print and web scenery should wake you up: there is always somebody better (and somebody worse) and there is a huge abundance on creativity out there, and THAT is the object of importance.

At times though the overflow of design and art which can be found in bookstores and on the internet becomes overwhelming. In such moments I can feel a twinge of melancholy for lost times when graphic design did not know QuarkXpress nor Photoshop nor anything digital, but was limited to Letraset titles and 2 design options only. No “let’s undo this quickly” or do a “save as…”; no “let’s try a little of this filter and that one too”. Clear visualization in the mind was required before the costly and manually intense production began. Needed a 1 millimeter line with a 5 millimeter radius corner for some newspaper ad? No quick 15 minute job in Photoshop but hours of careful drawing and then hand painting with a tiny brush and black and white paint.

The one thing that hasn’t changed though is this feeling of thinking that we could have done better…, and always, always are we driven to be better the next time.

Enjoy your creativity – splurge on it!