The Condensed Intelligent Designer

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The Condensed Intelligent Designer

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We don’t think about this often, but graphic design was born long before computers.

As late as the 1980s, even a simple flyer involved the concerted work of cold typesetters, markup specialists, repro operators and photostat operators. These seemingly obscure professions were highly specialised, and the equipment was expensive. Compared with today’s reality this may not look like a pretty picture, but it was this division of labour that created some of the best design and advertising in history.

Today, most design is created by practitioners: people who are designers by necessity, rather than by trade.

The vast majority of small business owners, entrepreneurs, freelancers and artists who don’t have a design budget can either make do on their own, or they can outsource. The main issue with outsourcing is not the quality; it’s the inherent risk of choosing someone whose work you can't evaluate, the inefficiency of communicating with them and the risk of becoming dependent on a middleman who doesn’t care about your product. Ultimately, the market economy of outsourcing websites inevitably drives prices down, and quality follows suit.

Doing your own design (as I argue you should in this book) goes against the gospel of specialisation that has been preached since Adam Smith, but the tide is changing:

generalists are not dismissed as jacks-ofall-trades anymore. T-shaped skills are becoming valuable, and as you’ll learn, a broad base of reference is one of the most important assets you can have as a designer. Besides, if you’re bootstrapping or freelancing, you’ll know that your only resources are your time and skills, and expanding your skill-set is something that will pay off sooner or later. So, what are the options if you want to learn design?

Download the book to find out :)

Protip 👉 index pages are interactive! Tap to go where you want to go, and click on the "Back to..." button on every page to go back to the previous index. Nifty. 

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