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But are you really a graphic designer?

My week has been, amongst other things, slightly consumed with making a design test for graphic designers that are interviewing for open positions at my job. My wonderful copy writer really got the test started by writing out things that are important to a designer and skills a designer should have. Then it was my turn to really drill down into the test and make sure we were using the right terminology and finally actually making the test. I even had a fellow designer Laura Rings take the test to make sure it could actually be passed by a graphic designer. By the way, she passed with flying colors.

So the question begs, what makes a graphic designer? There are people out there that have never gone to school for it, but have a tremendous portfolio of work. But then you also have people who did go to school, but even comparing between them, there are noticeable differences between their creative process and technical skills. Once again I ask, what makes a graphic designer?

While many answers may come flying at me via the comments section after people read this, I don’t actually have an answer. The answer all depends on who you talk to on a certain day, at a certain time. But I do offer up something fun to entertain you: A test that sees if you really do know your stuff when it comes to typography and specifically kerning. So follow the link and test your skills! I promise it will be entertaining! Be sure to post your results in the comment section!

Click for kerning test here!

Expanding my horizons…

So sometimes you don’t realize how dense you’re being when you’re, well, being dense. I most often live in a world where a graphic designer either does, print, web, or both (the most marketable). But with technology being what it is today, that’s pretty much loosing it’s validity. Graphic designers, more than ever, are starting to add their 2 cents or even 10 cents to projects around the world that would otherwise be “none of our business.” Move over traditional roles: Graphic designer coming through.

My preamble was to introduce my thoughts on video. My friend Laura, a great graphic designer out of Chicago, sent me this link (see below) of a video of lightening striking 3 buildings simultaneously in Chicago. One of the most amazing things I’d seen! So I start looking at this man’s other videos and low and behold! He had just gotten back from HOW in Denver! I knew I recognized him! His name is Craig Shimala. Truly his work is phenomenal. I sat at work and watched all his films. I just couldn’t get enough.

As I was watching I started thinking: A t-shirt designer (He works at Threadless), a graphic designer, and a movie maker. That’s a lot of hats! But it all started to make sense. T-shirt designer and graphic designer, we can easily see the connections. The movie maker part took more pondering, but then it hit me: Graphic design is the organizing of information to best communicate an idea, and at best to communicate an experience. And there was the connection! On a print piece we organize words, colors, fonts, and pictures to create an experience. Isn’t movie making just that? Organizing moving images, shot in certain color palettes and laid out in a sequential order (possibly to music) to create an experience for the audience?

So I see my horizons changing. While I most likely won’t be picking up a camera tomorrow to make a movie, the divisions I once saw between what a designer could/could not do are no longer quite as defined.

Lightning strikes three of the tallest buildings in Chicago at the same time! from Craig Shimala on Vimeo.