Poch Peralta

Freelance Writer / Blogger,


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Are Computers Destroying Design?

Was Milton Glaser right about that?
I'm still unsure if that's the case. What I'm sure of is computers and modern tech are robbing designers of jobs. And because of that, I wish Glaser is right lol

'In the end, however, we need less to learn about how to make the software work and more about how to make design work!

'I was a student of some incredible designers, but Milton Glaser, whose course I admittedly never finished, still stands out in my mind. He was not a proponent of computers for design and while we young designers using computers with Photoshop 1.5 (2.0 had LAYERS!) were confused by his dislike of computers, reasoning they were faster and cheaper for design production, he stood fast. It caused us to suspect his teaching was obsolete. I hope Milton forgives me for that statement as I was young and foolish.

'Years later I was reading a blog rant where some designer was blasting Glaser for saying something about the computer being to design as a microwave is to gourmet cooking. Ah-HA! That’s when it hit me. Milton, more mumbling about his dislike of computers, truly saw the future of design. He just didn’t put it in a way that made sense. A quote with a moral or haiku would have been nice!...'

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    Feb 2 2014: it has taken away, 'human touch' and the beauty of 'errors and mistakes'.
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      Feb 2 2014: That was sharp observation Uba. A great illustration of Tech turning us robotic.
      And come to think of it, human touch and beauty are part of the essence of art.
  • Feb 1 2014: Poch,

    Like so many things the answer is Yes and No. I feel that many designers do not have the skill to work with the tool in the designer's mind set. They let the tool dictate the design and thought process. Great designers use the tool but they use it in their design process. If the tool does not allow them the freedom, they will leave the tool to do what it does best but design outside the tool and go back to the tool to allow it to record the design.
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      Feb 1 2014: And that is exactly how artists and designers should do it. Great comment Wayne.
  • Feb 16 2014: No in fact I would argue the opposite, now anyone with even a little bit of talent can at lest try their hand at design. I am certainly not an architect however with software I have designed several fantasy homes and it even gave me list of materials, costs and architectural drawings for the builder to submit to the planning department.
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      Feb 16 2014: Yes Keith. I think that's the best thing about digital art apps and tools.
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    Feb 3 2014: Computer hardwares and softwares are designed and built by humans. Humans still control the process, "from vision to reality" - to borrow a popular phrase in art, architecture, design, and engineering.

    We have NOT reached a point yet when computers will start and finish a project - such as a house, a bridge, a television, an airplane, or a ship - without human action, interaction, and intervention.

    Are computers destroying design? In one interview, the famous architect Frank Gehry mentioned that computer design software helped him a lot in designing his latest works, such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

    "Digital Project is a computer-aided design (CAD) software application based on CATIA V5 and developed by Gehry Technologies, a technology company owned by the architect Frank Gehry. Among the changes made by Gehry Technologies to CATIA is a new visual interface suitable for architecture work.[1] With the release of version R4 Digital Project is compatible with CATIA V5R22.[2] Digital Project is best known as the software which allowed Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to be completed on time and inside budget." Wikipedia

    If at all, computers are making the work of human designers faster and better. After all, the human imagination is still the one responsible in design.

    "The only limit is the human imagination," as the famous saying goes.
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      Feb 3 2014: I'm very grateful you joined here too Rodrigo. Thanks!

      "From vision to reality"
      Maybe the first part our designing method should be done manually in 'vision'---the last part 'reality' with the tech tools.

      "The only limit is the human imagination."
      If the artist doesn't lack imagination, lack of resources will surely limit him or her.
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        Feb 3 2014: Hi Poch, thank you and I'm privileged to join a special group of people.

        If lack of resources is a limiting factor - a problem - then, the solution is a set of tools that we all have WITHIN us: imagination, vision, and innovation. Through imagination, vision, and innovation, we will solve lack of resources.

        This conversation also touches the other issues in this forum: debt, poverty, inequality, wars, and so on. Through imagination, vision, and innovation, we, the citizens of the world WORKING TOGETHER, can overcome almost any challenge.
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          Feb 4 2014: When you are a freelance artist, there will be clients who will demand that you use a certain software or tool. And if you don't have that tool and can't produce it immediately---
          which is my case right now with one client---that's what I meant by being limited by lack of resources.

          Working together multiplies power to overcome almost any challenge indeed. But that's
          rarely done. If all activist groups will band together, they will surely achieve something
          historical. But it's a mystery why they won't do that Rodrigo. Have any idea why?
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        Feb 4 2014: Hi Poch,

        I understand what you mean. Many years ago I was in a similar situation, very short of resources. I'm not active in the Arts field anymore. I'm sort of a viewer/admirer now.

        There is a company that started in San Francisco, CA called "Tech Shop." You and your colleagues may be able to borrow some ideas on how they started and how they operate. There are also sources of capital that you can explore, i.e. micro-lenders, venture capitalists, credit card companies, "The Shark Tank" people, and so on.

        Join a group of like-minded people with the same interests and form an alliance or organization. Oftentimes vision, imagination, and innovation are only half of the success equation. Boldness, daring, guts, grit, outrageousness, and X-factor, such as a charismatic and visionary leader, are the other half.

        I realized this late in life. I once told people close to me that if I were more daring and outrageous early on things would have been much better ... But then, there is no point in crying over spilled milk.

        Wish you the best ...
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          Feb 7 2014: Now you reminded me of a famous writer who said creativity is useless if we're not bold enough to jump into the unknown. You just gave testimony to that Rodrigo.
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    Feb 1 2014: Designing is still a very loose concept missing the most fundamental laws that govern our very perceptions, especially perception of sight.

    In schools there is not a clue about how our minds work when we perceive our reality and why we instinctivelly obey these nature's laws. It is much easier for our eyes to see the whole design as a coherent Composition in which more important features are more obviouse than the rest. To hide many features/info that are also important in the process (sometimes the designers hide On/Off switch very well for a "slick" looks) create anger among busy users..

    Elementary knowledge of designing and its important rules are missing in all schools.

    The artistic or creative part in designing these days, is just a matter of a bad fashion, poor taste, no sense of composition. However, fashions "produce" a lot of crazy, artificial excitement, therefore, lots of following imitators.

    A real artist probably would not go for "computing art masterpieces" because it offers an extremely limited method regarding textures, colors etc and these are Commercially made-up already.

    Hopefully some day technology will begin to study and descover human laws of natural perceiving, Before manufacturing millions of gadgets with constantly jumping and sparkling images..
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      Feb 1 2014: 'Elementary knowledge of designing and its important rules are missing in all schools.'
      I'm not sure if I experienced that in my college of art but I was surprised more than a decade later
      that the computer school I attended was guilty of that. It didn't even teach us the sizes of bytes!

      'Hopefully some day technology will begin to study and discover human laws of natural perceiving,...'
      If Tech could do more difficult things, I don't see why tech engineers can't do that.
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        Feb 1 2014: Hey Poch. Good to hear from you.

        The laws of nature that govern our very perceptions are not really discovered yet, as laws. However, Talented artists are following these instinctively, for ages.

        Let me put these together my way. Every mind must Compare, Select what seems important, put the rest of images on a background, and create a Composition. We have to make sure that our Focus is concentrated on the most important "spot". The laws of perceptions is a large part of my unusual research (it is about to be publish this year.

        The "rules" of painting on canvas are revealed in classical art, but these never were noticed as our basic laws of perceiving. If our miinds cannot follow these laws (instinctivelly or consciously) we see Nothing and sense Nothing.

        I keep working on these discoveries on our perceptions day-and-night, and for many years.
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          Feb 2 2014: 'If our minds cannot follow these laws (instinctivelly or consciously) we see Nothing and sense Nothing.'

          That seems to prove that something only becomes real when two persons agree it exists.
  • Jan 30 2014: A quote with a moral :

    Men have become the tools of their tools.
    Henry David Thoreau
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      Jan 30 2014: Very apt for modern tech because we ALLOW it to use us.
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      Jan 30 2014: I don't fault the computer as it is. Computer 'artists' get hired more than real designers who lack tech tools and computer savvy.

      Design software and apps are fun to use. But jobs from clients will eventually require more software which you will be forced to train on and which you sometimes can't afford.
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    Jan 29 2014: Computers are tools like a pen and paper, but with more functionality. Pen and paper do not design things by themselves, its up to the person using them what to do. Computers/Software just create more possibilities for the people who use them, so they can do better. Just like any tool, computers and software also requires mastery. It may be easier to master certain tools than the others.
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      Jan 29 2014: Computer tech tools have made most 'graphic artists' legit when those artists can't design using pencil and paper. And the problem is those 'artists' get hired more than real designers who lack tech tools and computer savvy.

      Design software and apps are fun to use. But jobs from clients will eventually require more software which you will be forced to train on and which you sometimes can't afford. Thanks Farrukh.