The Difference Between an Artist and a Designer
• A thought
It’s hard to imagine that someone who is not a fan of Damien Hirst would buy his diamond skull for 50 million pounds.
Someone who is not a fan of a certain designer probably won’t inquire about a job. But a fan could turn into a critic and vice versa throughout every single project. There is no failsafe for that. It’s the natural designer/client dynamic.
So maybe it should say: “is getting paid by his or her fans (and critics).” But that would invite the term “commercial artist” to this argument. And we like to keep it simple around here.
Criteria for Evaluating Projects
• A Humble Suggestion
There is this notion: A client can get a job done fast, cheap and well-made—but he can pick only two. What about designers? What are our options to pick from and what makes a project worthwhile? Please allow me to share some thoughts with the class.
In his book “How to be a graphic designer, without losing your soul” Adrian Shaughnessy establishes criteria for good work:
- Is the client happy?
- Is the job profitable?
- Is the project newsworthy?
I concur with his list, but there is one downside: It’s difficult to apply these criteria to a project which is still ongoing. Listening to your heart—or gut, whichever gets more of your attention—is important. However, it’s nice to have more solid indicators. so far, these have worked very well for me:
How much time are you spending on the project?
or to put it this way: How much time is left for anything else?
Are you getting enough compensation for your work?
It doesn’t have to be monetary. You can get more exposure or work with interesting people for a reduced salary. Still, there should be something in it for you.
Are you getting excited about the project or are you performing mundane tasks? (Technically, you have to rely on your heart/gut for this one.)
Of course, it’ll be great to be able to pick two out of three, as well. But at times, one prevailing factor can be enough to justify working late, earning less money or feeling under-challenged and nevertheless be satisfied.
Having said that, if you can’t check off any of those, I suggest panic.
The Difference Between Solaris and 2001
• HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey
I’m a huge fan of both movies and their directors. They’re both visually and intellectually astounding, so I mention or reference them frequently.
Yet, there is a difference between the two I noticed recently: When talking about Solaris, I usually quote the dialogue rather than its cinematography. When talking about 2001, I “quote” the visuals — like the monolith, the bone to space ship jump cut and the waltzing space station (you probably get the picture, literally) — more often than its dialogue.
I wouldn’t say that 2001 has nothing to offer beyond its visuals, on the contrary. And I don’t think of Solaris as visually dull, quite the opposite. But for me, 2001 will always be a visual masterpiece first while I’ll always think of Solaris as a philosophical indulgence foremost. And I’m starting to wonder how these movies received their particular “branding.”
For the Love of Vinyl
Lately, I developed an interest in vinyl records. I’m not sure about a possibly higher audio quality, but the artwork just shines. Apart from the obvious visual obsessions, I actually love the inconvenience you have to go through before you can listen to a song. It makes the whole music experience much more deliberate than iTunes.
Which reminds me of my childhood, when I used to consume music sans computer. Those were the glory days of the Compact Disc, for those who remember.