Sunday, 18 December 2016

A beginners guide to a design beginning

So perhaps you are just thinking about getting into design, or perhaps you've been learning for a while—it's never too late to reinforce the foundations.



Whether you never seen the toolbars of Adobe glory, or you've spent the past two years groveling your tutors inbox; it's always a good time to check where you are standing and what you are standing upon. If below you resembles a brutalist concrete lake of knowledge then maybe you're alright, but if it's loose sand, slipping as you slowly assess you feet—perhaps rebuilding would be the best idea.

Now looking down at your feet, what are you wearing on them? Shoes share a surprising amount with design—trendy ones look great for about a week but can't take you any further than the bus stop without excruciating pain or humiliation. Traditional boots will get you to the bus stop, over the hill and back again but they're not exactly up-keeping with modernity; with their rivets and cowhide structure. Flip Flops get you nowhere but to the shop for a loaf of bread and a reinforced stereotype of the student demeanor. If you are wanting to follow design, you'll need a range of shoes or some crazy interchanging modern shoe that likely only exists in the annals of Nike HQ.

At the start, you'll need those sturdy traditional shoes to keep your balance on the sand, learning the principles of structure through being immersed in the 'shoes' that existed before you. Once you've worn these shoes through, and they have holes large enough for your design toes to poke through, staring at the modern world around them. You can patch these holes with the spliced fabric from those nice trendy new shoes, but make sure you leave one or two open—a gentle design toe breeze from the modern world is always a pleasant luxury.

The next most important thing after shoes, is books. Now that you aren't going to make toe shaped dog mess truffles as you walk, it's probably best you put them to use in which to carry yourself to books, many many books. Though you are still possibly standing on the unstable sands of innocence, you can just about support yourself with the propping up of books against said sand.
The Walden Rules on Books™ is this; read everything, everyday and use what you've learnt to discount or devour the information you have been presented. If you aren't sure how do this, you can start by using a simple formula.

  • Respected author + respected publisher = trust
  • Unknown author + respected publisher = slightly trust
  • Respected author + respected review = trust
  • Unknown author + unknown publisher = no trust (this also includes me)
  • Respected review + unknown publisher = slightly trust
  • Any guide on Pinterest = no trust
note: anything that has been published to paper has gone through much more screening and trail than anything digital, thus can be trusted more easily. THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO NEWSPAPERS.

Now, you might be slightly more sturdy standing on your tower of sand and papyrus with your mildly hilarious patchwork shoes, but you know what kid? You've got knowledge under them knees!


There is a lot more to both learning and practicing design aside from pretending that it has anything to do with legs, feet or shoes. What's important is stand alongside all this, you've either got a strong man-made foundation or the knowledge, papers and materials in which to do so.

Go build that foundation, a cornucopia of knowledge—like a birds nest in Phaidon's waiting lobby.
Gud luk sweet child.


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