Questions Answered for School Project

Hello All,
I am doing a project for school where I need questions answered by industry professionals. Hoping some nice designers could take some time out of their day to help me out!

  1. What are current trends that you like/ dislike in design?
  2. Which design movements/theories have been most influencial in your personal style?
  3. Where do you seen contemporary design going in the next 5 years (styles, trends, influencers, ect.)
  4. In your opinion, how does history and theory effect contemporary design?
  5. What is an important piece of advice you would give to a new designer or student?
    Thanks in advance!
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I have a feeling you won’t like my answers too much, but they’re honest answers.

As soon as I spot a trend, I know it’s time to not do whatever that trend happens to be.

Bauhaus, International Style and Post-modernism.

Increased automation and too many new designers for the available jobs, which will lower designer salaries even further than their current ridiculously low levels.

The principles of good design are timeless. Styles come and go over a period of years. Trends are already outdated by the time they’re noticed. I’m not even sure I agree that “contemporary design” is all that different from 10, 20 or 30 years ago. Looks differ from one decade to the next, but at its core, it’s still all about the principles of design, like rhythm, balance, color, personality, contrast, tension, etc.

Make absolutely sure that you really want to work as a designer. It’s not an especially lucrative or stable field. If the answer is still “yes, I want to be a designer,” be a trendsetter, not a trend follower. it’s much better to be a leader than someone running behind trying to catch up.

What are current trends that you like/ dislike in design?
I’m a sign fabricator. I hate the trend of skinny typefaces and skinny lines. But that said, I’m seeing a few less examples of it so it seems to be fading. Grunge is another that’s been around for too long, but it has become entrenched in the culture, so all I can say is, learn to use it appropriately. Especially when it comes to 3D real world elements like siganage.

Which design movements/theories have been most influencial in your personal style?
I don’t have a personal style when doing graphic design. The style I use is what is appropriate to get the client’s message across to their potential clientele. I might like blue bunnies and kittens, but if the message requires death metal grunge, then that is the style I use.

Where do you seen contemporary design going in the next 5 years (styles, trends, influencers, ect.)
Fast and cheap. No one seems to value quality any more. Which, combined with what B said about too many designers and not enough jobs, just goes toward the lowest common denominator, or IOW, the front desk greeter with a drag and drop program…

In your opinion, how does history and theory effect contemporary design?
B already explained it exactly as I would have (only I’d have used more words and been less clear.)

What is an important piece of advice you would give to a new designer or student?
My usual advice is to get every single mentored job opportunity while you can while still in college. Don’t wait for your senior internship. Get a part time job in a printshop or signshop. Work for your college design department. Be on your professors for any internship leads. Be sure those internships have someone there to teach you the ropes. Far too many businesses take on students just to have free design work and offer nothing in return. You do not want to be re-inventing the wheel. The purpose of a student is to be taught.
Also,
Be very sure you want to do this career. Then do a huge amount of research on what is out there for jobs (which you really should have done before sinking money into college fees.) Don’t aim for “I want to do logos.” You need to aim way WAY higher than that. You also have to practice and, regardless of what anyone may have told you, you have to be a good artist. All of the more lucrative jobs out here involve not only being really good and really fast at what you do, but also having the drive to chase it. A lot of times Drive and Artist don’t go together.
Since I work in a very weird corner of the industry that involves both “signage” and “live theatre,” I see the field heading more and more digital display in some arenas. I also see a branching out into environmental or experiential design fields. Even when it comes to corporate stuff, the trend to out razzle-dazzle the competition is leading to all sorts of combinations using digital, projection, lighting and theatrical “majick.” I also work in the educational exhibit world and even there, due to the nature of the kids’ attention spans these days and the absolute need to keep them digitally glued to some kind of device, even that has headed more toward interactive “gaming” with an educational bent.
Again, that is my own weird little world.

What are current trends that you like/ dislike in design?"

There aren’t many that I particularly enjoy. Since I’ve been a designer for print (13 years), I’m used to cluttered, over-typeset pieces - A clients attempt at getting their entire business on a single print entity. I like the minimalist approach. It’s a breath of fresh air. The negative space and showcasing of the substrate in which they’re printed is pleasing to me. I find it creates intrigue, and gets a client’s attention.

Which design movements/theories have been most influencial in your personal style?

I’m a fanatic for typography and typeface. Grotesque type almost marks the dawn of sans-serif typefaces. paving the way for Neo-grotesque typefaces in the 60’s - many of which have achieved timelessness. I don’t see myself replacing Helvetica as a go-to sans-serif typeface any point in my career.

That grotesque period of ornamental design always intrigued my with it’s intricacy.

Where do you seen contemporary design going in the next 5 years (styles, trends, influencers, ect.)

I have no idea. These trend setters are awful people ;). I imagine things will get bubblier and more ‘cute’. I feel social media has a heavy influence on these trends. I’d LIKE design trends to go back in time a bit. Vintage had made a marginal comeback, and I wouldn’t mind seeing some more class returned to the industry.

In your opinion, how does history and theory effect contemporary design?

Not much today. I WISH it had an impact. I feel it sculpted designers for a long period of time, and rightfully so. But I feel now we’ve lost touch with what design really is.

What is an important piece of advice you would give to a new designer or student?

PrintDriver gave some serious wisdom here. I advise you read that. Then, read it again.
to add on to it - just remember you work for the client. Dont get attached to work rejected by your client. Dont design out of your clients comfort zone. Do what the client wants, no matter how dry or un-artistic it may be. Get paid. And hopefully find enjoyment and satisfaction from every piece of work you make. keep self awareness, breathe, and have fun.

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