Monday, 27 February 2017

The Rule of three

I believe that there are 3 kind of designers in this world.

The Functional
The Fun-ctional
The Creative

The Functional

 Functional designers are the ones that tick all of the boxes of a design brief. The ones that learn the tools of the trade and just do. When planning for a brief these designers will do the base requirement of research and explore ideas within the comfort zone that they have set themselves very early on in their design career and nothing more. I am tempted to say that designers within this field see it more as a job and not as a career. 

At university, we were told not to be like these people and were demonstrated techniques to get us out of comfort zones and to get out of the bubble of just box ticking. However despite this advice being given I found that people were doing the same thing.

From my sketckbook from a project about saving the ocean. Rubber ring = Saves lives. Fish = Ocean. simple but not that interesting

Fans of clean bold design were working mono-chromatically and using the same fonts. Fans of the flat minimal design were using illustrator. I mean we all fall into the trap sometimes and sometimes it works for a project but it is not something to base everything on.

The Fun-ctional

The Fun-ctional designer is the playful equivalent of the functional designer. The one that takes a regular holiday to the library or explores interest only to return and use a fraction of what he has learnt. This is where I see myself. A close friend described me as the wild card designer, the one who's quality of work is above average most of the time but with that little push could be so much better.

All the above from the James Reay Design Book Club

Fun-ctional designers explore ideas more than their functional counterparts, they have a wide frame of reference on the styles of the past and the present, lastly, they try really hard but don't see the bigger picture. The best way I can describe this is via a case study.

I was doing a typography project based on the Sex Pistols gig at the Lesser Free Trade Hall (y'all) and I thought it was going really rather well until the final tutorial in which they said Yes James, it is very punk looking but you have just copied the punk stylee from the late 70's rather than interpreting what it actually means to be punk. 


Creatives are the real designers, the ones that stand out like a sore thumb in a group of functional designers. These are the ones that over step the brief and over design for a project and then reel it in. The ones that push the envelope and see what the client will let them get at way with. These are the ones that carve a niche for themselves. The designers that get a feel for a project not just the literal interpretation.

Snask (who gave a lecture at my university and whom I have a signed poster (designed by Vincent Walden) by) are the ones that come to mind when it comes to this. When you are asked to design a poster Function and Fun-ctional designers would probably do one on photoshop; Snask built a poster... in real life.

With every project designers should strive to be creative and not only tick boxes. There are millions of graduates who can tick boxes and fulfill a creative brief but industry doesn't want them it want the creative. Andrew Byrom (another designer who gave a lecture at my uni) said we don't need anymore designers we just need good designers and by that he means creatives.

I strive to be creative in every single piece of work I do but at this stage in mys career I am happy as a Fun-ctional wildcard designer.

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