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While the Cat’s Away

Armin’s off at TypeCon, and well, who’s minding the store?

Heh heh heh heh.

I thought that in the spirit of the spitball-throwing, cookie-eating, sister-pinching, backroom-drinking mayhem that often ensues when we’re left with the place to ourselves, this might be a good time to let loose with a little free-for-all.

Let’s keep it design-related, but got something you’ve been wanting to say or show us that just hasn’t fit in anywhere else? Maybe you have a thought or observation about design you just want to unload. Whatever it is, load it up into that straw and spit it out here.

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ARCHIVE ID 2023 FILED UNDER Miscellaneous
PUBLISHED ON Jul.23.2004 BY marian bantjes
marian’s comment is:

And just as I posted that, my friend Marshall sent me the link to this. Which is definitely in the spirit of the day.

On Jul.23.2004 at 11:57 AM
Paul’s comment is:

in-house designers of the world Speak UP!

can i hear you say YEAH?? (HELL yeah!)

On Jul.23.2004 at 11:59 AM
Jon’s comment is:

The in-house creatives from Veer are in da house!

On Jul.23.2004 at 12:02 PM
Joseph’s comment is:

I have something . . . i think.

I have had very strong feelings about poster design. I think it is trite. Poster design seems to be more art and way less design. I mean there are no restrictions by clients or anything. You just make a pretty nifty illustration and a basic layout and then you get a poster that wins awards. I always felt that design was part art and part science. Restrictions are what makes design . . . design. What do you all think?

(Please dont jump down my throat . . . i am sensitive.)

On Jul.23.2004 at 12:13 PM
marian’s comment is:

Joseph, well ... I won't jump down your throat but I assure you almost all posters have clients with restrictions and the challenges are just as many as any other design job.

However, I think what you're reacting to are the beautiful seemingly textless posters that often win awards. I always wonder "How did they get away with that?" If it's for a play, and I have to be 1 foot away from it to figure out when and where ... well, either the designer is some kickass salesperson or their theatre client is not my theatre client.

Any poster I've ever designed has been a struggle between impact/signature image/identification (logo)/title/date/place/contact/price/billing (stars etc. incl. creative directors etc.)/sponsors, and setting all that info in 10 pt type has just never been an option.

Most posters, for whatever event or organization, have similar requirements.

On Jul.23.2004 at 12:26 PM
Joseph’s comment is:

Yeah, i see that. I DO mean the posters i see in Step, CommArts, etc. It looks more like fine art that was applied to a poster. It is rather discouraging.

On Jul.23.2004 at 12:28 PM
Michael’s comment is:

Representin' in-house design!


As far as the design of posters go, maybe it's the context? I think Marian's right about clients and restrictions still being present, but because it's intended for an entirely different venue, as opposed to say an annual report or direct-mail piece, the circumstances are entirely different and therefor the perception of more creative freedom is given.

On Jul.23.2004 at 12:33 PM
marian’s comment is:

Hey has anyone ever seen a really good form in a design annual? You know, like a rate sheet form or a utilities bill ... ?

On Jul.23.2004 at 12:34 PM
Joseph’s comment is:

Actually no I have not seen a form, ever. That is rather interesting.


On Jul.23.2004 at 12:38 PM
Greg’s comment is:

I do love a good desginer... espeshully the wons what spel gud.

Just playin'.

In-House Rocks!

On Jul.23.2004 at 12:44 PM
Joseph’s comment is:

No really, i am a DESGINER. I desgin everything. everyone else is a designer, so to stand a part i desgin . . . okay, busted, i have nothing. :(

On Jul.23.2004 at 12:46 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

I'm an in-houser now too. And, ya know what? I think it's growing on me. I've actually been here over 2 years now...that's a record for me!

On Jul.23.2004 at 12:56 PM
Michael Surtees’s comment is:

holla holla - I design both in and outside the house, it's exhausting. For those in house people that deal with a LOT of acronyms daily, here's a cheat sheet.

On Jul.23.2004 at 01:05 PM
Tan’s comment is:

'nuff about design. Here's a Friday funny. It's very well done.

And how 'bout that Lance Armstrong and numero six? Just freaking inhuman, he is.

On Jul.23.2004 at 01:21 PM
Anonymous’s comment is:

I'm with you Tan regarding Armstrong-incredible!

How about a discussion regarding effective job searching using the net or the likes of Aquent, headhunters etc etc

How do you blow off stress when you are at a job that you can no longer stand the tasks or the people and you are dealing with an inept, micro-managing Creative Director.

Can you tell where I am coming from (AAAAAAARRRRGGHHH!)

On Jul.23.2004 at 01:35 PM
Paul’s comment is:

I heard on CNN that the Jib-Jab animation you linked to was actually a very sophisticated Al-Quaeda plot to erode American productivity, and that the estimated cost to US businesses this week alone is in the hundreds of millions of dollars!

Those wily terrrorists. What will they think of next? (A re-branding is probably in the works already...)

On Jul.23.2004 at 01:38 PM
David Weinberger’s comment is:

The following is an email exchange between Armin and I on April 1st. I'm sure he won't mind me sharing it with everyone. I initiated the exchange after reading his April Fools post.


David to Armin-



Let me know if this doesn't link correctly.


Armin to David-

It's not linking... and you better be shitting me Weinberger!


David to Armin-

"and you better be shitting me Weinberger!"

I shit you not, Vit.

The links have been live/not-live for the last few days. Incidentally, although this has launched internally (I think I mentioned this before), the public launch is not until May so you can't pass this on. I'll let you write the topic again, or maybe even Steven Heller if he wants. I'd rather not send you actual artwork yet, but if the links won't work today, I'll give you a peek since I'm out-of-town tonight until Monday. Try the video.



Armin to David-

I CAN'T SEE, the suspense is killing me...

"I'd rather not send you actual artwork yet, but if the links won't work today, I'll give you a peek since I'm out-of-town tonight until Monday."

It is April's fool, so I'll take this with certain skepticism.


David to Armin-

"I CAN'T SEE, the suspense is killing me..."

Oh, quit whining, I said I'd show you. Anyway, are the links in the email coming up as links? Our email has been having problems with links and even corrupting files that we send. We've had to post things on our extranet recently, although I can't give you access to that. Here is a low-res jpeg. DO NOT pass this on to anyone. Seriously. Let me know what you think.


Armin to David-

The file you sent looks like cable went out on your TV.

I am convinced now that this is your version of April's fool.


David to Armin-

The file is fine. Try downloading it on another computer or on a PC. Maybe try opening it in Corel Draw since that is the main design program we use here. I'm not saying it isn't happening, just getting you back for your little "mention" of FutureBrand in today's post.


Armin to David-

You use Corel Draw?

HAHAHAHA. Dude, this seriously has to be April's fools.


David to Armin-

Relax, no Corel Draw, no IBM redesign (today), but I will be ruthless with this month's Word It (Parody). I know you can take it.


Armin to David-

"but I will be ruthless with this month's Word It."

Bring it on!



I sent three WordIts for Parody and Armin refused to post them.

On Jul.23.2004 at 01:39 PM
mitch’s comment is:

That Jibjab thing is not only hysterical but its everywhere - they were playing it on TV on CNN or MSNBC or one of them (is there really any difference?) last nite a few times. Thats what Flash is really good for - political cartoons, screw the websites.

anyone get the new iPod yet? i'm such a geek that im selling my old one to get the new one. Sad, but true.

On Jul.23.2004 at 01:44 PM
Tan’s comment is:

Ooo. That's good Weinberger. You made Armin dance like a little girl.

On Jul.23.2004 at 01:47 PM
Michael Surtees’s comment is:

Maybe try opening it in Corel Draw since that is the main design program we use here. That was a touch of genius!

As for Armstrong, the cynical part of me wonders if he's heard of BALCO

On Jul.23.2004 at 01:51 PM
Michael’s comment is:

JibJab has been around for a while though... at least 5 years. I remember when thay made a parody of the signing of the Constitution with Washington, Jefferson, and Hancock (I believe). That was funny then, and "This Land" is funny now.

Hey anonymous, my CD is actually pretty cool, but I understand your frustration. Unfortunately, while the economy is supposed to be getting better, there are still too few creative jobs out there to leave the security of in-house.

On Jul.23.2004 at 01:51 PM
Michael’s comment is:

David, you had me writhing in my chair wth busting-out-loud-laughter with that Corel Draw remark.

On Jul.23.2004 at 01:59 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

I'm changing the topic. Couches/Sofas. Who has a recommendation? I'm looking for something simple, leather would be nice, and under $1000.

There doesn't seem to be much in between Ikea and DWR for nice moderish sofas.

(Though the new brown leather IKEA sofa looks nice...anyone have that one?)

On Jul.23.2004 at 02:03 PM
marian’s comment is:

The JibJab was funny, but I thought my link in the first comment was funnier (anyone? anyone?).

and good one, David.

On Jul.23.2004 at 02:08 PM
Michael Surtees’s comment is:

I really should be getting back to work after this. Darrel have you checked out the KLIPPAN?

On Jul.23.2004 at 02:16 PM
tim’s comment is:

marian-i really enjoyed that first link you posted. just what i needed on a friday. it's making the 'rounds in the office.

On Jul.23.2004 at 02:18 PM
ps’s comment is:

reporting from san fran i can report that mr.vit is suffering from a slow connection in his hotel room, so this seems to be the chance to dish it out without much of a chance for his (usual) instant reply... must be killing him.

On Jul.23.2004 at 02:36 PM
Russel Q’s comment is:

Marian, I thought your link was hilarious. But that's because I'm a bit of a design geek (as we all are, I guess). It's making it's rounds to all my other designer geek friends too. ...and I'm not into politics, but that JibJab was nucking futs. *Funnee stuff*

On Jul.23.2004 at 02:41 PM
Christine’s comment is:

I forwarded Marian's link (hilarious, by the way!) to to a few visually-minded friends and one sent me this one back. I thought it could start a little discussion.

I suppose I found this piece interesting because I've been slogging away in front of my computer for a few days generating concepts for a website. I've got a host of tools at my disposal here - pen, paper, scanner, wacom tablet (recently acquired, I don't know I managed without one before), computer, brain. But maybe if I had a light table of sand I would be whipping off concepts like sandcastles.

It's an old discussion, how our tools direct the aesthetics of our work, so I won't dwell on that point too much. What I'm more interested in hearing is everyone's tricks for design-block. It might not be as simple as "I pick up a pen and paper." Do you watch a movie? Do fifty pushups? Call your mother? Write on the walls? Give me your deepest darkest inspirational secrets.

For the last few weeks, mine has been downloading unusual music and letting that be my soundtrack.

On Jul.23.2004 at 02:46 PM
ben’s comment is:


On Jul.23.2004 at 02:49 PM
botts’s comment is:


can't think of a form that was in an annual... but the stock certificate that Templin Brink did for Janus was/is pretty impressive. T.B. D.

On Jul.23.2004 at 03:01 PM
Tan’s comment is:

marian, your link rocks girl.

>Couches/Sofas. Who has a recommendation? I'm looking for something simple, leather would be nice, and under $1000.

Darrel — don't succumb to Ikea. It's time to move on. Have you tried the Room&Board warehouse store? When I lived there, it used to be on the west side of Mnpls. They have discontinued sofas and scratch and dent stuff at 50-75% off. You should try it. And I remember another cool furniture store there called Elements. And of course, there's always Crate&Barrel.

Out here, we have a chain called Dania. More than Ikea, and less than DWR.

I've learned that a little more money is worth it when it comes to furniture.

On Jul.23.2004 at 03:10 PM
Brady’s comment is:


The long-since-past redesign of the FedEx airbill was included in a design annual. I believe it was in Critique. I would have to go into my archive to be absolutely sure.

Not a design review but in Tom Peters' book, The Pursuit of Wow!, Tom lists 142 things that describe what design is to him.

One of them is, "An easy to use FedEx airbill."


I thought this was an April Fools joke, since I came across it on the very day.

I've always thought they had silly, tongue-in-cheek names for a lot of their products, but this takes the cake.

On Jul.23.2004 at 03:19 PM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

So who else out there is self-taught & desperately hoping to learn enough to pass the Test & save their business card from the Designer Liscencing Board's shredder?

This advertisement for the Illustrator's Partnership of America made me never want to hire one of their members. It has a serious attitude problem. It features the gratuitous use of not only "freakin'" (twice) but also "friggin'". To top it off; it's whiny. Did they not think to hire someone that understands advertising to write the copy? Surely their members deserve better.

And it leads me to a tagential wonderment: Why do graphic designers (and maybe illustrators) harbour animosity toward advertising people? Surely I'm not the only one who has loved advertising all my life.

On Jul.23.2004 at 03:23 PM
marian’s comment is:

OK, here's a little something. Recently I got talked into taking yet another VISA card. When it arrived, it was SO UGLY I know I can't put it in my wallet, can't bear to look at it for even a second. I will probably cut it up and send it back to them.

The appearance of my Visa card is important to me (OK, I'm a nut) and for that reason alone I have this one—as cards go, not bad. But I'm probably going to get rid of it due to the annual fee.

Does anyone know of a site that posts all the card designs so I can shop by appearance?

On Jul.23.2004 at 03:24 PM
marian’s comment is:

Oh Jeff, your comment reminds me of a series of horrible cartoon-style ads in CA featuring the stereotypical snotty designer dressed in black, expressing their high-falutin' contempt for clients. My blood boils every time I see one.

On Jul.23.2004 at 03:31 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

Darrel — don't succumb to Ikea.

I love Ikea. It's just that you can't buy everything there. I wish Ikea actually had some competition. ;o)

The Klippan isn't too bad. I'm leaning towards a brown leather over black, though.

It's time to move on. Have you tried the Room&Board warehouse store?

Not since a friend of mine stopped working there and lost the discount. But I have another friend that just started there so...hmm!

And I remember another cool furniture store there called Elements.

Elements is OK. It's kind of a wannabe IKEA. They try to have cool design, but it ends up being bad 'space oddysey' modern type crap. Granted, haven't been there in a few years, so I should probably check that out too.

That Dania stuff is nice. Well, except for their 'Sorry, purchases can not be made online or through our catalog' line. We built a web site. We publish a catalog, but we're not going to take your money!

On Jul.23.2004 at 04:14 PM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

Marian, my comment or the IPA ad itself?

On Jul.23.2004 at 04:17 PM
Nary’s comment is:

does anybody have any advice for a graphic design student looking for an internship? how is that different from looking for a first job? what do you think of the interns that you have worked with before? or interships you have gone through? any horror stories?

i appreciate your comments.

On Jul.23.2004 at 04:26 PM
Michael’s comment is:

Marion, your link was a great way to start out a Friday, and has made it's way around the office here too (with great appreciation I might add).

Darrel, I'll sell you my black leather sofa from IKEA for cheap. Only problem is my wife's dumb bitch (her dumbass dog) pissed in one seat corner. It doesn't smell bad as long as you don't sit on it.

On Jul.23.2004 at 04:36 PM
Graphics Boy’s comment is:

Did someone say "What time is it?"

Oh... you didn't. Well check this out anyway, dammit.

Click Here

On Jul.23.2004 at 04:42 PM
Michael’s comment is:

I'm just a chatty-Kathy today...

Nary, I can't recommend internships enough. It not only opens doors for you, but your eyes as well. I learned a lot at my internship which still helps me to this day. I suppose the key would also be to intern at a good place. When you're looking for places to go, start with the top firms/studios/agency and blow them away.

On Jul.23.2004 at 04:46 PM
Tan’s comment is:

Tsk, tsk...Michael, the word "intern" and "blow" can't be used that close together anymore. Didn't you get the HR email?

On Jul.23.2004 at 04:55 PM
Jason’s comment is:

Tan, are you salary or hourly with Landor? My god. If they were doing quality assurance, they'd surely see all the time you spend on this site. That place has to have its tentacles reaching deep into the IT network.

However, maybe this is your day off because of the Seattle heat. (Can you believe it?! I love it!) Or are you on hiatus for Landor day? [SNICKER SNICKER.]

On Jul.23.2004 at 05:28 PM
Michael’s comment is:

Are you kidding me Tan? That was a cleverly planned innuendo!

Heat in Seattle? How hot did it get there? I bet it's a nice heat and nothing like this.

On Jul.23.2004 at 05:54 PM
marian’s comment is:

So, uh .... back in the day when i had an office and staff, hardly a day went by without one of us storming in with some design artefact and saying "Have you seen this shit?" or "I can't believe how nice this is." or "I don't get this, do you?"

And it seems that every day I see something that makes me wish I could rant or rave. But today I seem to be drawing a bit of a blank.

The rest of you ... ? No outrage? No fawning admiration? No juicy gossip? (I suppose it's a bit late, now and all the Easterners have gone home).

On Jul.23.2004 at 05:57 PM
Tan’s comment is:

It's funny, but I've learned to do four things at the same time when I'm at my desk. One of them is to whip out occasional smartass comments on SU.

The funny thing is that I tend to be much more abrupt on emails.

But hey, the higher in the food chain you get in your career, the more efficient you become at doing everything.

Yea, the heat is on in Seattle. In the mid 90s for a few days -- pretty close to what you guys are gettin in Austin Michael. Except no one has AC around here, so it can be brutal. But it usually drops into the 60s at night. I know, we're wimps. When I lived in Houston, it'd be in the 90s at night in March. Don't miss that at all.

Aah, what I wouldn't give for some brisket from Salt Lick for dinner tonight. *Sigh*

Jason, how did you know about Landor day? Well in our office, we took an afternoon off and caught a Mariner's game at Safeco. Of course, they lost. But it was fun nonetheless.

Peace out 'bro. I'm outa here for le weekend.

On Jul.23.2004 at 06:07 PM
Kyle’s comment is:

marian.. I have the perfect credit card link for you. There's a new offer that let's you upload any photo (and for us graphic designers, that means any image). Apparently you can change the picture 4 times per year. I haven't ordered one for myself...my credit cards don't usually see the light of day, but I think it's a cool idea.

Oh and a guess a link would be nice

And put me one the list for in-house...I've been at it for a few months now, and I do not want to leave. My department is made up of former agency (design + ad) folks. Everyone is very talented, knowledgeable and passionate about great design and advertising....it's really a dream job. Plus, working 'normal' hours gives me plenty of time to do freelance work. Love it.

On Jul.23.2004 at 08:33 PM
Josh Scruggs’s comment is:

Enter a name for my typeface and get it free.

Right now its only lowercase. I'm currently working on the uppercase, numbers and the rest of the character set. The winner gets the full version. enter your submission here.

On Jul.24.2004 at 12:18 AM
RavenOne’s comment is:

I keep on getting confused when 'professionals' talk to me about design. For my art major, everyone had to take a design class (which seemed to me to be art basics more than any design-- this is a line, this is another type of line), along with the teacher saying artists and designers are Enemies, non compatable, etc etc etc, and never really explaining what the difference was, hinting that art was easey and design was 'real work'.

Personally I tend to see them as sister-subjects, and if there is a line between the two, it seems to blurr. Also, I'd like to point out- as an artist- I don't hate designers, and I'd like to learn more about it.


On Jul.24.2004 at 02:02 AM
Ravenone’s comment is:

Looking up I realize that was just a rant from my sleep-deprived brain. Oh yeah, I've enjoyed the links you guys have posted.

On Jul.24.2004 at 02:22 AM
Timo Arnall’s comment is:

I saw the Klippan in the flesh last week, nice except for the legs. IKEA never gets the legs right.

On Jul.24.2004 at 06:13 AM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

Designers don't like advertisers. Designers don't like artists. And apparently illustrators have some serious attitude. (If you believe the advert.) What is the basis of these stereotypes? Like Ravenone I want to learn more.

In my mind it's one big mash of creative thinking and execution. Let's just all be friends. ;-}


Also, my daily dose of interesting internet links comes from Todd Dominey's sideblog.

And I liked the clock, Graphics Boy.

On Jul.24.2004 at 08:56 AM
Armin’s comment is:

Weinberger… I will, in time, like, kick your ass. Like, totally.

See, the thing is that I'm a trusting guy, when people say "I'm doing this", I trust them and I think they are honest and… Oh forget it, you got me…

I'm still kicking your ass.

On Jul.24.2004 at 10:42 AM
Rob’s comment is:

I guess Armin got his connection problem solved. Buddy, hope you are having fun out there in sunny California. And thanks to all for the fun links, definitely helped balance out my day with my whiny six-year old and my, way too fast for his own good two-year old. So, yeah, in-house ROCKS!! And does trying to find the time to do some work that's right OUTHOUSE...., oh sorry, meant Out of House. Either way, the sh** does sometimes really hit the fan.

On Jul.24.2004 at 12:22 PM
marian’s comment is:

OK, RavenOne and Jeff Gill are touching on something that I've been thinking about a lot lately, being a designer/illustrator/artist--i guess this gives me a couple of reasons to hate myself (heh heh). I don't have any answers, but I think there might be a bigger post in that one somewhere ... just have to think about it without going over old stomping grounds.

Armin, as you can see we haven't got up to any mischief while you are away. Alas, it would appear we can be trusted with the keys to the store.

On Jul.24.2004 at 12:32 PM
Nary’s comment is:

ah...hate. hate usually comes out of feeling threatened. in this age it is considered better to be a specialist at something, especially when it comes to vocation when you get paid more to be a "professional" in a specific field.

i suppose it makes sense to have specialists in a complicated field like medicine when you have brain surgeons and oncologist and cardiologist and podiatrists and - well, you get the idea. but we are brought up to pick something specific to aspire to: "What's your major?" "What do you want to be when you grow up?" so most of us pick something and stick with it and it makes us money. so when somebody comes along and can do - or claim they can do - what we have studied to to and striven to excel in, there's got to be a bit of resentment there.

besides, the human brain likes to categorize things, which leaves us Jack-of-all-trades in a dicey situation. people are so baffled when they cannot place you in a neat box with a pretty label. the phrase "Jack-of-all-trades, Master-of-none" carries a bad connotation, but what's wrong with being good at a lot of things and great at some others, as opposed to being fucking great at ONE thing?

but going back to feeling threatened. you can understand why people who do things that are so closely related yet different, hate each other. those who are insecure probably figure there's a conspiracy to do away with what they can provide, because i'm sure a designer with rendering and painting talent can do their own illustrations if need be. and an advertising exec with a team of ad people with an understanding of design can do well without graphic designers. but who has 36 hours in a day to do that? that's why we need collaboration. all designers, artists, illustrators, copywriters, and advertisers of the world unite...because we all hate stingy, difficult, raging, ignorant clients, right?

eek, i lost all motor-sense control and couldn't stop typing. please excuse the rambling.

On Jul.24.2004 at 01:47 PM
Diane Witman’s comment is:

Surely I'm not the only one who has loved advertising all my life.

My parents once told me that when I was younger I would only watch commercials and not the actual programs. I've always loved advertising and might even take a career in it one day.

I loved everyones links!!!!

By the way, the exchange between Armin and David was hilarious!

On Jul.24.2004 at 05:58 PM
Tom B’s comment is:

I think the stereotypical animosity between designers and artists comes from the fact that although what we do is actually very similar, until recently, we haven't really understood one another at all.

Designers seem to think that artists just ponce around, acting on whims and creating whatever the hell tickles their fancy at any given time (and secretly, I think, a lot of designers would like to do this).

Artists seem to think that designers just do what they're told - licking the asses of big business and getting loads of money for doing so (and secretly, I think, a lot of artists would like to do this).

Both of these caracatures, of course, are straw men. Both sides of the divide are jealous of something that simply doesn't exist.

I think it's fantastic that artists and designers are finally beginning to talk to each other with genuine respect. Now we can begin to help one another create communications that really matter.

On Jul.24.2004 at 07:23 PM
Don Julio’s comment is:

Illustration is a method of visual storytelling often based in fine art education with knowledge and skills in color, composition, art history, concept and technique.

Design is a method of visual storytelling that may incorporate the above, but also includes written language in conjunction with a concept and requires additional knowledge of typography, and advanced layout (composition), with technical skills to skillfully execute. Illustration (art) and photography are possible elements incorporated as part of an overall design. Design must communicate or inform.

Advertising incorporates design, illustration and photography to produce a strategic message and achieve marketing objectives in alignment with a client's goals. It must sell, steer or drive. Design may also use these tactics, but in advertising, selling/compelling is always part of the equation.

Ilustration for design would likely need to communicate. For advertising it may need to sell.

Art is the creativity without many of these constraints. It can also serve the above purposes, but typically the artist serves as a solo visionary often without a client. I would go on a limb to say its primary purpose is one of expression and to inspire (thought/reaction).

There are overlaps that my simplified interpretations do not spell out and there is likely a common creative gene that connects us all. I longed for more clear definitions as a student trying to decide which avenue was most appealing to me and rarely got a useful answer from my instructors. Hope there is something in there to chew on.

On Jul.24.2004 at 10:17 PM
Rob’s comment is:

As someone who started out as a writer and worked my way into design, I have always had a certain level of professional insecurity because I can't draw and don't call myself an artist. And to the point, when I taught my design classes, I brought in a small casket and declared Art to be dead. (Sorry, to my artist friends—it was a prop to stir discussion about what design is versus what fine art is).

While I'm clear to explain, in this discussion, that art is more about self-expression and design utilizes many elements from art to text, to communicate a message. It's not that there isn't an art to design, it's more that you are using your skills to further someone else's agenda and getting paid for it at the time.

But clearly, the most successful communications are those where there is clear collaboration between all parties involved. And I for one, have a lot to learn from artists as well as my fellow designers (and writers and marketers). Each of us has our own unique view on things, differencese I treasure, and value them for the education they give me.


On Jul.25.2004 at 11:18 AM
Pesky Illustrator’s comment is:

Rob, the way I see it, Art, like Picasso said, washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. Advertising design, on the other hand, makes the label pretty for the Spray & Wash.

On Jul.25.2004 at 12:52 PM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

I think a lot of the really compelling stuff happens when the boundaries between disciplines get blurred or are blatantly crossed.

A few for-instances off the top of my head:

The Honda commercial with all bits of the car rolling, balancing & moving elegantly across a big white space was stolen from obscure film that some guys did a long time ago. (I'm not in the mood for looking these things up at the moment.) It exposed millions of people to a beautiful piece of work. A good thing. And a few (hundred? thousand?) to the artists who had the idea in the first place. Also a good thing.

Victor Moscoso's stuff

"In the 1950’s there was a small group of French artists (some previously active as Letterists) known as the Affichistes who would scour the streets for ripped and layered posters, and present these found pieces in galleries." from m. kingsley's latest essay

And there are billions more.

Don Julio, I appreciated your simple clear definitions...

Joseph (comment no. 4), I agree that restrictions are very important - and not just for design, but for creativity in general...

But I don't think that progress can happen if everyone fits themselves into nicely defined niches. It is essential for some people to be, as Nary said, threatening. Plus, it's a lot of fun.

There was a very interesting article in CA (shock!) on this subject in the July issue by Sharoz Makarechi about her own "intersection between advertising & design"

On Jul.25.2004 at 04:44 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:





The Beef fifty (50) years ago was between Illustrators and Photographers. From the turn of the century to the middle 1950s Illustration was KING. Illustration finally lost to Photography.

Because of technological advances.

Photography was the favorite form of expression.

Today it is the Illustration Stock Houses. That are doing a dis-service to Illustrators.

Unfortunately, clients of Commerce would rather pay the next to nothing prices for Stock Illustration. Opposed to paying an Illustrators Going Rate.

Because of the MAC, PC and Universal Software. Designer(s), Artist, Illustrator(s) and Photographer(s) are on the same creative playing field.

It is only our Imagination, Imagineering, and Creative Prowess that separate the Disciplines.

Indeed the lines are BLURRED.

Let us not forget the MAC was invented for VISUAL COMMUNICATORS. Good Old Fashion Graphic Designers. Not Architects, Engineers, Doctors, Lawyers, Accoutants or Muscians.

On Jul.25.2004 at 06:43 PM
Bradley’s comment is:

I ate a lava lamp once. It wasn't actually lava.

On Jul.26.2004 at 09:30 AM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:



Why not? And don't tell me because it will have 14 fingers and an IQ of 40.

On Jul.26.2004 at 10:41 AM
Nary’s comment is:

LOL, Bradley. thanks for making me laff.

On Jul.26.2004 at 01:16 PM
Custom Kahuna’s comment is:

Something I need to do more often, so I painted it on my barn/garage this past weekend...


On Jul.26.2004 at 04:31 PM
Custom Kahuna’s comment is:

On Jul.26.2004 at 04:35 PM
Matt’s comment is:

Art & Design may be cousins but they can mix quite well - cross-pollination is good. Process discoveries in one will inevitably inform the other. Rationalization of ideas & motives will do the same.

We're so focussed on classification... I think it borders on unhealthy sometimes...

On Jul.26.2004 at 04:52 PM
marian’s comment is:

I love it, Custom Kahuna. Funny I was just thinking today that when i did my kitchen backsplash i wish i had written something there--done something typographic.


do not get me started.

On Jul.26.2004 at 04:58 PM
Greg’s comment is:

I dunno, I saw Art checking out Design in the hallway the other day, so I go up to Art and I says, "Hey, you like her?"

And Art says, "Wha- No, no. Why, you hear somethin'?"

And I says, "Well, the word on the street is she's...you know...eeeasy."

Art says, "Whaddya mean 'easy?'"

I says, "You know, she turns da tricks."

And Art says, "No, not that classy broad."

And I says, "That's just what I hear, you know, I hear things, I pass them on to people who wanna know."

And Art looks again and says, "Damn."

I says, "Yeah... I know."

On Jul.26.2004 at 05:27 PM
Diane’s comment is:

Greg, I have no idea how your gears work in your head. But damn, that was funny.

On Jul.27.2004 at 11:30 AM
DesignMaven’s comment is:



do not get me started.

Please don't, Bad Enough the GURU of the Group (TAN) asking about the Linguistics of Human Resources Memo's for interns. What words you can and can't use in the same sentence.

Jeff Gill:



Why not? And don't tell me because it will have 14 fingers and an IQ of 40.


Art & Design may be cousins but they can mix quite well - cross-pollination is good. Process discoveries in one will inevitably inform the other. Rationalization of ideas & motives will do the same.

We're so focussed on classification... I think it borders on unhealthy sometimes...

I'll Kill two Birds with one stone. (Figuatively Speaking)

The Fundamental Differences between Art & Design.

Design is a PLAN, a PURPOSE or INTENT. (Idea)

Design is an Intellectual Activity with a craft aspect to it.

Designer(s) Orchestrate and Delegate to Compensate.

Didn't mean to sound like Jesse Jackson. You

get my point.

Design has nothing to do with Craft. (Execution) It is a misnomer to associate Design with Craft.

Each Creative Discipline has a craft aspect to it.

Craft is Dexterous and deals with Production.

Designers almost always need others to bring their Ideas to Fruition.

Thus, an Architect Plans a building. An Architect is not involved with the actualization of building the building. The Architect need a construction crew to finalize his plan.

Fashion Designers are involved with Conceptualization of the end product. Other specialist bring the Fashion Designers plan into Fruition. Such as, cutters, seamstress, fitters, etc.

Structual Engineers plan the Design of Bridges.

Structual Engineers are not under water in a frog-man's suit with blow torch and welding equipment

assembling bridges.

Other specialist perform those task.

Within Visual Communication the bondaries are already cross-pollinationed. Which is a major problem. With self professed Designers or Artist that vehemently do not have a Respect for said Discipline or Craft.

Anyone now-a-days with a computer MAC or PC and varous software packages can call themselves a Designer. With little or no training.

Again, Fact of the Matter. Design has nothing to do with Execution or Craft.

Everyone of us involved within our Respective Disciplines has given birth to an Idea for each assignment executed. Many of us are involved with Design and Production. Understand Design vehemently is not Production.

The Ideation of a Plan, Purpose or Intent actualized is Design.

End of Statement.

Whenever we begin to render, organize visual elements, play with type, manipulate images.

That is Art, Craft and or Production.

Anyone that is involved with preflighting, trouble-shooting files. Executing someone else Idea's is a Production Artist.

Only when you give birth to an Idea (actualized) independantly or within a team can you call yourself a Designer.

Designers do not need to Execute nor be involved with craft or production.

When you look through the Annuals. The Designer has a credit. The artist has a credit, The Illustrator has a credit.

Some Annuals such as Modern Publicity and International Poster Annual are only concerned with who gave birth to the Idea. The Designer.

Yes, some Designers are Artist as well. And vise versa.

In reference to your cross-pollinatination of Disciplines.

Should we begin to have Artist Design Bridges and Plan Buildings ???

Should we all a sudden have Photographers Design

Airplanes and Sea Vessels ???

A rhetorical question to say the least.

Like Marian and other(s) of the Speak Up Community. I started as an Illustrator, I've been drawing and painting since I was five (5) years old. As well, I'm a Fine Artist.


If there's any Beef that exist between Artist and

Designer(s). It is because Designer(s) in the Puritanical sense are Elitist.


or PK.


Lou Dorfsman, Famed Creative Director of CBS TELEVISION and RADIO.

Stated early in his career. He tried to explain to his mother what his job was as Art Director and Designer at CBS.

He brought an Advertisement home and showed it to his mother. He mother thought it was beautiful.

She pointed to the Headline and asked. "Son did you do that". Lou said, "no mummy, I hired a copywriter to write that".

Lou's mother pointed to the body copy and ask. "Son did you do that". Lou responded, "no mummy, I hired a typographer to print that".

Lou's mother began to wonder. She pointed to the photograph and ask, "Son did you take the photograph". Lou responded, "no mummy I hired a photographer to take the picture".

Lou's mother quipped, "Son you didn't do anything". Why are you taking credit for other people's work.

Lou' looked at his mother and said. "Mummy, I'm the Art Director. I brought all these people together and payed them to execute my Idea.

Lou's mother looked at him and said. "You Devil."

Anectdote # 2

Famed Illustrator and Airbursh Luminare Charles White III bought a billboard in California stating:


Some people in the Design Community were upset by this.

Golin Bright Zolotov the Design Consultancy that gave Charles White III most of his Commissions.

Bought their own billboard stating.

Golin Bright Zolotov RULE CHARLES WHITE III.

They were Spot On !!!!!!!

On Jul.27.2004 at 02:11 PM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

Mr Maven, Sir.

I get what you are saying. The Defining is good. I love the stories! But...

Should we begin to have Artist Design Bridges and Plan Buildings ??? Should we all a sudden have Photographers Design Airplanes and Sea Vessels ???

YES! Please, YES! Imagine the freshness, the (good) naiveté, the dust stirred, the hackles raised. That's how new stuff happens (Of course one must not discount the breakthroughs that come from within a category. But think of how often those are inspired from without.)


Art & Design - Warhol

Artist as Art Director - Britart. Early Damien Hirst. Rachel Whiteread's House. Etc.

Entertainment Influences Science - Star Trek

On Jul.27.2004 at 03:31 PM
Matt’s comment is:

Jeff, you beat me to Warhol et al.

It kind of bugs me that artists are continually classified as people who make pretty things that are purely self-fulfilling... A lot of great art may have aspects of that but a lot of thought - design if you will - goes into the conceptualization in order to elicit a particular response or make a point or deliver a message.

I thing a more crass but perhaps more accurate division of art & design may be that Design is usually for profit and art (while it would be nice to make a profit) is undertaken in response to some less identifiable and unexplained inner need.

Chucking all that out the window for a sec though, I might even venture to say that Designers are artists who have managed to straddle both brain hemispheres and marry their art to logic.

Way too serious... need sugar...

On Jul.27.2004 at 03:51 PM
Tan’s comment is:

>It is because Designer(s) in the Puritanical sense are Elitist.

Well, yes. We are, but there's a reason.

In the great food chain of professions, designers hire and commission art, so designers see themselves as one rung up the ladder of creative services. Much like an architect and a carpenter, or a film director and his/her cinematographer.

It doesn't mean that design is any better than art, but like everything else in this world — there's an order to things.

On Jul.27.2004 at 03:59 PM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

so designers see themselves as one rung up the ladder of creative services.

Isn't it interesting though that the way design generally achieves "immortality" is by being recognised for its artistic value & added to the collection of an Art Museum?

On Jul.27.2004 at 04:28 PM
marian’s comment is:

The Ideation of a Plan, Purpose or Intent actualized is Design.


Designers do not need to Execute nor be involved with craft or production

Really, Maven, your take on this is super interesting. It also seems a little old school ... or something. You've certainly described the Art Director role well, but in a small studio ... say of one person ... where the designer wears all the different hats (production etc.), the wearing of those hats become integral and seamless into their process as a designer. That is to say they don't stop at point A, "Ideation" and say, "Now I am not a designer as I begin to execute my plan." The process continually flows back and forth so that the idea(s) come from the process (the execution) and back again.

True craftspeople are increasingly hard to find, so the designer does become the craftsperson (and many of them already were, back in the day). Even if, in your model, the Designer was purely an Ideas Person, they would still need to be deeply involved inthe development and execution. At least I would hope so. A good designer would know when the type wasn't kerned properly (craft), when the bezier curves were wonky (craft), and a host of other things which you seem to think are not their concern.

But I think that model of the design process is increasingly rare.

Furthermore, in a collaborative process, the Designer does not sit at the head of the table, but works with a give and flow of ideas from--often--photographers, illustrators, writers, architects ...

So, my dear sir, I say that not only should the designer and illustrator go to bed together, I would advocate a mass orgy of all of the above and more!

The more there is play, the better the work.

On Jul.27.2004 at 04:35 PM
Tom B’s comment is:

There seems to be great confusion arising from the attempt to place 'art' and 'design' on a level so that we can compare and contrast.

This is bound to cause us problems, though. The two are not the same sort of thing.

Art is a cultural activity, which combines elements of past cullture in an expressive way, in order to create novel and thought-provoking new cultural dialogues.

Design is different. Design is a process, a cultural tool. Design is something we use to achieve things, whether this be communication, creation of buildings, creation of products or creation of art.

Trying to compare art with design is like comparing being a storyteller with being a writer. Writing is an incredibly impressive, invaluable skill that can stand completeley alone from storytelling (to be a good writer doesn't mean you're good at telling stories).

However, to be a storyteller you'd be much better off if you could write well.

In the same way, design can achieve incredible things without ever trying to be art. Yet art can never be succesful without using the process of design.

Design is a tool. Communication uses design to achieve its goals. Advertising uses design to achieve its goals. And, yes, art uses design to achieve its goals.

Until we realise that we can't compare these two different things as though they were direct alternatives, we'll continue to miss oportunities for real learning.

When we begin to see design as a tool, used to achieve a wealth of different outcomes, we may start to learn from one another.

On Jul.27.2004 at 06:16 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:


My point, with the anectdote of Charles White III

and Golin Bright Zolotov.


Re-read my post. Better still, I'll post my illustration.

It is only our Imagination, Imagineering, and Creative Prowess that separate the Disciplines.

Indeed the lines are BLURRED.

Designers do not need to Execute nor be involved with craft or production.

Everyone of us involved within our Respective Disciplines has given birth to an Idea for each assignment executed. Many of us are involved with Design and Production. Understand Design vehemently is not Production.

Doesn't mean Designer(s) don't follow every project through completion. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't.

In it's Puritanical Sense. Designer(s) do not have to Execute.

A small shop is different. In that respect, you're in need of a Jack of all trades. A RARE INDIVIDUAL.

Not every Designer can use software programs. Not every Designer can render. Realistically or Symbolically. Not every Designer understand the intracacies of type. Not every Designer can sell the idea, give the presentation and maintain relationships with clients.

Each of us have different strengths and weaknesses.

It is is the rare individual that can Conceptualize and Execute. Give the Presentation.

Sell the Idea. And foster long relationships with clients.

Most individuals that are involved in Art are involved with the Execution or Production of an artifact.

Design is a collaborative process. Which involves Ideation. The planning of something to be Executed.

Art 99.9 % of the time is a solo act. Which involves the manual dexterity of perfecting a skill.

Not my explanation. Just The Canons of the Profession.

Jeff and Matt:

Andy Warhol, Said " Art is anything you can get away with."

Boy, did he get an ASS KICKING for that comment. The comment also shows Warhol's disdain for Art.

You know Warhol started as a Designer. Moved into illustration. He later transcended into Fine Art.

What was POP ART if not Regurgitated POPULAR Graphic DESIGN ???

Funny, you should use Warhol as an example. He did go through the Rights of Passage.



Did I just use an Oxy - Moron ???

Last Anecdote:

Internationally Famed Identity Consultant and Designer Jim Cross. Stated when he went to Parties and Engagements. People asked what was his occupation. He always said, "I'm a Designer". People asked, "are you a Fashion Designer, Industrial Designer, etc. Jim would explain. "I'm a Graphic Designer" The comment was always. "What's that". Jim would explain.

Jim got fed up with explaining to people what kind of Designer he was. Begin telling curosity seekers he was a Graphic Design. He still had to give an explanation.

When people ask today. What is his occupation.

Mr. Cross, tell everybody, "I'm an ARTIST". No further explanation needed.

On Jul.27.2004 at 07:06 PM
Paul’s comment is:

Brilliantly stated Tom. Just as I was beginning to wonder "Where does this whole discussion leave things like Word It and Open Space?", which to my mind really fall into the art category despite being created by designers, you summed it up just so. The writing/storyelling analogy seems especially apt.

On Jul.27.2004 at 07:07 PM
Don Julio’s comment is:

Way back in this string was a student oriented question about the differences bewtween art and design and illustration, and the choices being unclear. I may have over simplified - and generalized, but I did admit that at the time.

The question is, is there a freakin' short answer to the question on the differences, or just the philosophical one that will still leave their heads spinning at the end of the day? My intent and curiousity was in finding a nutshell reply to help define the roles as they might relate to career and programming choices at a college level.

I personally appreciate the more insightful and anecdotal views, but students do ask this often. I would be dazzled to review a Design Maven synopsis that would apply to everyday student requests and could be communicated clearly in 30 seconds or less. Any takers?

(sfx: gauntlet hitting ground)

On Jul.27.2004 at 07:21 PM
marian’s comment is:

Coles Notes:

Graphic Design is the visual interpretation of a message to an audience.

Art is the artist's expression of an idea.

Illustration is an artist's visual interpretation of someone else's idea to enhance a message to an audience.


(But hey, what do I know?)

Your glove, sir ...

On Jul.27.2004 at 07:39 PM
Don’s comment is:

Oh, I left out the advertising animal in that list... Is that in Coles too? Thanks for a simple wrap up. You seem to have hit the brakes on the topic ;).

On Jul.27.2004 at 08:40 PM
Don Julio’s comment is:

back to my cd of white noise

On Jul.27.2004 at 08:41 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:


Just as I was beginning to wonder "Where does this whole discussion leave things like Word It and Open Space?", which to my mind really fall into the art category despite being created by designers"

Word it and Open Space is Communication Design. Achieved by the process of Design Ideation.

Which illustrates the process of craft.

Both Word It and Open Space Executed by Designers incorporate the Principles and Elements of design which are: line; shape; value; texture; color; which are the elements of design. The priciples of organization in design are: harmony; rythm; repetition; variety; balance; movement; proportion; dominance; economy; space; to provide unity.


Since you quoted Coles. Let me quote GOD.

Graphic Design fulfills aesthetic needs. It complies with the laws of form and the exigencies of two- demensional space. Which speaks in semiotics, sans - serifs and geometries. It abstracts, transforms, translates, rotates, dialates, repeats, mirrors, groups and regroups. Graphic Design is a problem solving activity. It provides a means of clarifying synthesizing, and dramatizing a word, a picture, a product, or an event.



Good writers were not born because of the invention and use of typewriters, and word processing software. There must be a innate understanding of the canons of the profession and respect for craft.

On Jul.28.2004 at 12:21 AM
marian’s comment is:

Wash, rinse, spin ...

On Jul.28.2004 at 12:43 AM
Nary’s comment is:

oooh...Marian, i just discovered your website. your work is beautiful! just breathtaking.

sorry guys, just an aside. on with the philosophical cogitations...

On Jul.28.2004 at 01:23 AM
Tom B’s comment is:

No, but if we hadn't had literaly thousands of years of innovation in language, writers wouldn't stand a chance. This is the compasrion to be drawn - not typewriters

When I said design is a tool, I didn't mean design is dependent on tools. I meant precisely what I said: Design is a tool.

I didn't say this to cheapen design, or to elevate art - just to show that they are different sorts of things.

On Jul.28.2004 at 01:31 AM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

Mr Maven, thanks for filling in the Warhol background. I was aware of his design work. That is exactly why I used him as an example.

Here's another question for your great minds:

Does it matter? Does clearly defining what is design & what is art make any difference? Will it lead to better work? Will it actually foster a greater understanding between disciplines? Or will it just enable us to know with greater certainty who's In and who's Out? Would it be that bad to work in an undefined creative space?

On Jul.28.2004 at 03:55 AM
Tom B’s comment is:

To be honest (and feel free to call me a hypocrite) I don't think it matters much. We would continue to design, to be creative and to be expressive even it no one bothered to try and understand what it's all about.

But I'm not having this discussion because I think it matters. I'm having it because I'm curious.

Maybe I'm just peculiar, but I've always been more interested in design as a phenomenon than in the products of design.

When I was at university, all of my research went into trying to understand what the hell I was doing and why, and my curiosity lead me down all sorts of strange paths (art, literature, literary theory, psychology, biology, physics, mathematics).

As with any thorough (dare I say 'academic') search, the conclusions drawn are only subjective simplifications, and don't matter all that much. What does matter is the search itself.

We shouldn't let conclusions spoil our curiosity. We shouldn't be satisfied with short, simplified definitions. We shouldn't just 'get on with it' because the philosophical answers will leave or heads spinning.

Does having a definition of what we do matter?


But that shouldn't stop us.

Does being curious matter?

More than anything.

On Jul.28.2004 at 06:12 PM
Michael Surtees’s comment is:

Tan — don't succumb to Ikea. It's time to move on and from DesignMaven: TAN: I'M NOTHING, IF NOT ELITE !!!!!! (BIG LAUGHS)

I've been listening to some bizarre ads on Virgin Radio lately. A quick search lead me to Elite Designers Against Ikea

I'll let you decide for yourself if there's some parallels...

On Oct.28.2004 at 01:40 PM