Thursday, June 12, 2008

In the wilderness

So there were a couple of raging debates over at 37signals recently, first about skipping Photoshop for design comps then expecting web designers to know not only user-centric design, but also CSS/XHTML. Those conversations, posts plus commentary, have brought me to a really interesting dilemma .

Are my designs hindered by the fact that I'm always thinking of how they'll be implemented online (even though I have a fair working knowledge of CSS intricacies)?

I recently applied for a position in California because I always think it's a great idea to keep one's resume and personal site/portfolio up-to-date and interviewing skills are good to keep fresh. But it occurred to me that my designs might not be diverse or compelling enough for the company. With my current full-time work, the site designs I create will always be in a bit of a box to fit that constituency. That's just the nature of the beast doing commercial work I think.

It doesn't really push me to expand my artistic abilities or expression, however. So I'm left pondering, what do other artists do? I've always looked at the term design "inspiration" being more in the camp of influence: I see something in a magazine and I want to create a similar effect in say Photoshop or Illustrator, but that doesn't speak to what the subject matter should be. Where does that direction come from?

I just wish I had a bit wider readership so I could toss these questions out to see what the broader consensus is. ;)

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