Today's Obsession: You Don't Know Jack
A couple of unrelated, yet related posts I’ve found: Adrian Shaughnessy lists ten things he observes most commonly in current design students and graduates. There are three things that give me chills. He says in point five:
It is getting harder to tell the difference between the work of students studying illustration and those studying graphic design.
And then in point seven:
Few students seem interested in web design. Most admit to being print fixated.
And then he contradicts this total lack of curiosity he sees with this tired old nugget I hear from design educators all the time:
I still hear professional designers and studio bosses complaining that students are not emerging as oven-ready employees. This is often true. Some students have no concept of—or interest in—the professional realm. But it is also true that many are more advanced, forward thinking and future-proofed than the studios demanding graduates with “real world expectations.”
Letting schools off the hook by congratulating themselves for producing “more advanced, forward thinking” designers is a straw man. Nobody can prove they’re producing designers so advanced they simply don’t need to know how to work.
There’s a huge difference between expecting an “oven-ready employee” (come on—nobody expects that) and expecting a fresh grad to have the slightest bit of production skill. When design was print-only, there was never an expectation that a designer would leave school without understanding production, but now? Employers are faced with a bumper crop of designers who have not the slightest concept of how the web’s technology could inform what they make.