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A Love-Hate Relationship

downloadAs a design student I often find myself grouped together with the “art kids”. On some level that is true, I paint, I draw, and I like making things with my hands. But those are my hobbies. I repeat, my hobbies. Just like a journalist can write science fiction in his free time but he doesn’t have to call himself an author.

I also find myself increasingly annoyed with explaining what I do as a graphic design student. The more I talk to people outside of my field, the more I realize that to most people there is no distinction between fine art and design. And the few that think there is a difference ask me if I could code. Or use Photoshop. Or make digital paintings. Or “Oh, is that like …fashion?”

Does anyone else find it gruesome to answer these questions over and over again?

Design needs to serve a purpose. There should be a reason for everything a designer does, and good designs need to be understood. In order to become a good designer, I find myself learning and using a wide variety of skills. Skills that many people would consider polar opposites of each other. Coding and drawing. Typography and 3d designs. Design can overlap with anything and everything, making it difficult for outsiders to pin point exactly what graphic design is.

And that is where the problem lies; design is everywhere and on everything, but yet it gets so little recognition from the mass public beyond “Oh, what a nice poster”. We as designers need to take initiative and make ourselves heard. Next time people ask you how design is different; take five minutes out of your day and explain it to them.


[click here for examples if you can’t come up with your own.]