Re: Why I write AND design (long)

Subject: Re: Why I write AND design (long)
From: Matt Ion <soundy -at- NEXTLEVEL -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 8 Nov 1995 09:51:16 PST

On Tue, 7 Nov 1995 12:12:59 -0400 you wrote:

>Whenever possible I prefer to do both writing and design.

When you really think about it, the two are really the same thing -- whether
dealing with letters of the alphabet, or lines and colors, you're taking the
stock material and shaping and fashioning it into something that (hopefully)
makes sense, gets your point across, and is pleasing to the eye.

Some people have a particular talent for one or the other (words are my strong
point... designing, naaaaah :); others such as yourself may be talented in
both areas.

>I started designing for three reasons.

>First, it's just as much fun as writing. I find it satisfying to use
>-all- my talents. I don't think it enhances my reputation as a
>professional writer to turn off half of my brain when I sit down at the

Certainly true. Some might argue that the other half of your brain power is
used just to keep the computer running =)

>But I also design in self-defense. I have been burned --- BADLY burned ---
>by 'professional' designers with good reputations who took my carefully
>crafted material and turned it into totally useless trash under the guise
>of 'making it look like it was professionally designed.'

Can't say as I've ever been burned like that, but I *DO* tend to be VERY
protective of my own work, to the point where I just don't trust others to
touch it, even if I know their qualifications or have worked with them before
(Stui knows this is true about me :)

In "my other life", I'm an audio engineer (that's the guy that tweaks all the
knobs in the studio or at the concert to make the musicians sound like they
can play ;). I can also sing (somewhat), and was once asked to sing with a
friend's band (they were desperate)... but on thinking about it, realized I
could never trust someone else with the knobs that control how my voice
sounds. I always have an image in my mind of how it should come out (little
delay there, bit of chorus here, push the volume a bit in this spot...) and
know that no-one else could ever get it JUST right.

>I've also worked on projects where a new type of document had to be mooshed
>into a clever design that was developed for a completely different purpose.
>The reason? 'Because we have to follow our corporate style. It was
>developed by professional designers'. The result can be dreadful.

Alas, we have such "professionals" in the music world as well... it's
definitely a world where one moves up the ladder whether one deserves to or
not. Guy starts on with a touring act as a roadie, just humping gear, and if
he stays with it long enough, eventually moves up to tech and even soundman
through simple succession. The turnover rate is high, and if a tech quits in
the middle of a tour, often the next guy to get the job is the one who's
standing right there taking a smoke break from pushing cases around.
Unfortunately, that person is not always qualified for or capable of that job,
but next thing you know, his way is THE way simply because "he's a
professional" so he obviously knows what he's doing.

>The guy who gets his promotions by producing dramatic, innovative magazine
>spots is NOT always the right person to design an instructional manual.

Oh, you must be talking about the guy that works for IBM. After seeing one
too many OS/2 "training" or "informational" videos from them that are little
more than thinly veiled advertisements (I already BOUGHT the damn thing, you
don't have to SELL it to me again, you have to show me how to USE it!), some
members of our local users' group have started a project to put together a
REAL "TRAINING" video. Should be interesting to see how it turns out...

New personal email address: soundy -at- nextlevel -dot- com
Internet Direct tech address: mion -at- direct -dot- ca

Please update your address book(s) accordingly!

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