Category Archives: Links

Generalists and Specialists

Over at Dear Design Student today, Ross has a piece on the value of both specialists and generalists.

Generalists and specialists each approach the world from opposing viewpoints. Specialists often think of generalists as focus-free dilettantes, while generalists can’t think of anything more boring than going through a career with a single area of interest.

Pop over and have a look.

Ross Floate

Dear Design Student, we’re here to help.

Design can be a difficult job to get a hang of. There are no apprenticeships, hardly any mentors, and people guard their experience jealously because it’s a competitive advantage.

Now there’s Dear Design Student, a new publication featuring working designers (including yours truly) who take the time to answer the questions that have been on your mind. The writing team includes Erika Hall, Jennifer Daniel, Dan Mall, Mike Monteiro, and Liam Campbell — all very talented people with a wealth of experience to share.

If you’ve got questions about the business and practice of design, head on over and ask a question.

 

Know your giants.

If we want to build, we have to know about our foundations.

The standard of work was very high at last week’s graduate exhibition for the Tractor Design School in Melbourne.  Some of it was exceptional. Tractor is getting good work from its students and, obviously, from its faculty.

I asked the graduates I spoke to the same series of questions I always ask young designers: What are you excited about? Where do you think the next three years will take you? Which designers have been an influence on you so far?

The last question always flummoxes people. Only one graduate had an answer for that question. That’s not good enough. It’s akin to saying you want to be a writer but haven’t read a work of Shakespeare, or a physicist who can’t be bothered learning the rules of thermodynamics. Read more

Breaking our own rules, and self-doubt.

When we started The Nudge, our vision was to do something here in Melbourne that was as good or better than what we’re all so keen to consume from abroad. It’s the idea that started us on the road to creating Hookturn.

Over time our thoughts have matured, and we’ve spoken with people from around the world – most notably when Josh went to the United States and interviewed Debbie Millman, Jeffrey Zeldman, and Ethan Marcotte. But up until now, our rule has always been that we needed to speak to people face-to face. It’s a large part of why we created the Hookturn studios.

This week we broke that rule. We’ve just released a special episode of The Nudge where Josh Kinal and I talked with the incomparable Merlin Mann about self doubt.

We think it was as worth it to break the rule as it was to make it. We hope you enjoy the episode.

On design education, they said it better.

I’ve been talking (ranting?) to whoever would listen about the state of design education in this country for about a decade now. It’s one of the recurring themes of our podcast The Nudge.

Mike Monteiro has been giving versions of his excellent “How Designers Destroyed The World” presentation around the world for the past year.

Today, Jeffrey Zeldman had this to say about Mike and design education.

As Mike sees it (and I agree) too many design programs turn out students who can defend their work in an academic critique session among their peers, but have no idea how to talk to clients and no comprehension of their problems. We are creating a generation of skilled and talented but only semi-employable designers—designers who, unless they have the luck to learn what their expensive education didn’t teach them, will have miserably frustrating careers and turn out sub-par work that doesn’t solve their clients’ problems.

This is not a problem unique to Australian design programs. It’s worldwide, and we need to address it now.