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The Technical Ebb and Flow of Digital Design

by Unknown

published on 2014-10-22 09:14:00

When I hire a designer, I see one of two people. Designer One has great aesthetics, solid design fundamentals and makes great-looking stuff, but is hampered by a lack of technical understanding of digital mediums. Designer Two really isn’t a designer at all, they’re more of a developer. Highly technical, reserved and with a keen understanding of today's mediums, but with less-than-ideal fundamentals when it comes to aesthetics.

Design for now at least is becoming more and more technical. This is especially true if you want to differentiate yourself from your competition. Eventually, the highly-skilled people who develop software will create tools to make a designer’s life much easier, but the speed at which technology is advancing means we’re constantly struggling to bridge the gap. This is the ebb and flow of design. You learn something, they make it easier, and your technical skills become obsolete.

Designer One needs to constantly learn enough to understand the capabilities of the medium, or else risk being pigeonholed in a single format. Designer Two needs to keep their skills sharp while working on fundamentals. I was Designer Two when I started. I began my career here as a digital designer creating cutting edge flash banners and interactive rich media pieces. As support for flash began to dwindle, I recognized the need to not only make sure I could transition digitally but also make sure my fundamentals were solid enough that I could transition into print work as well.

Whether you’re Designer One or Designer Two, you need that hunger that will get you to that perfect balance. Over the summer our design team ran courses once a week on HTML, CSS, Design Fundamentals 1 and 2, Powerpoint and the art of presentation, Typography and working with print vendors.  It’s a constant battle to understand a constantly-evolving medium and constantly-changing set of styles and trends to be ready for the next big thing!

Submitted by James Huntley, Creative Design Team Manager,