Graphic Designers as Nemesis?

Subject: Graphic Designers as Nemesis?
From: "Jelinek, Jennifer" <JJelinek -at- PLYMOUTHWATER -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 18 May 1998 09:33:05 -0500

I've got to chime in here...I'm both a technical writer and supervisor of
our in-house graphics department, and I've never thought of my designers as
anything but great allies. They understand the difference between a black
and white manual that's designed to be functional and a catalog sheet that
needs to inform and sell. Their graphic design sensibilities and my
information design skills work together to create better documentation.
Often, I'll know I want a particular piece of documentation to have a more
usable design, but I won't know exactly how to do it. The designers will
work with me to come up with options, and good ones at that. Other times,
I'll come up with ideas on how to make their layouts more efficient. Beyond
intangible "design" skills, they also possess artistic skills that I lack
and that are invaluable to the work we do.

Maybe some graphic designers are loathe to "adapt their art" to provide for
functionality...but in my experience, these are the artists who find
themselves out of a job very quickly. A good graphic designer understands
that design needs to work w/ the information it is trying to convey, not
against it, much like a good technical writer needs to know that the writing
exists to serve the information, not to draw attention to itself. The two
fields really aren't that far apart...both are, in a sense, "practical
Jennifer Jelinek
Marketing Services Manager
Plymouth Products, Inc. Sheboygan, WI
jjelinek -at- plymouthwater -dot- com

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