Our Real Nemesis

Subject: Our Real Nemesis
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- AXIONET -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 18 May 1998 17:20:17 -0400

Tim Altom <taltom -at- IQUEST -dot- NET> wrote:

>lately we've encountered another, seemingly more formidable foe: the
>graphic designer. When a client approaches us, it's not unknown for them to
>have already engaged a graphic designer to do brochures, annual reports, and
>whatnot. This same designer is often brought into the loop for manuals and
>other "functional" documentation, as well, and therein lies the problem. The
>graphical designers we've been meeting lately aren't well-versed in human
>functionality, although they're a better breed nowadays for balance and pure
>appearance.
>
>Our problems begin, however, when appearance contradicts function. To be
>honest, our firm isn't into graphic design and doesn't care to be. Our
>emphasis is on functionality; we farm out all our "artistic" things.
>
>This collision between beauty and function isn't new, but it seems to me
>that it is gaining strength.

I've complained about graphic designers myself, but, in all fairness, I
want to say that the best ones have a sense of functionality that is
every bit as strong as a technical communicators'.

The ones you're complaining about - and they do exist, and sometimes
they do seem to be the most common - are no better than the technical
writer who worries that revision will destory the beauty of his or her
style.

As for the collision between beauty and function, I suggest that, in a
craft like technical communication, any attempts to divide the two is
based on a misunderstanding of the task. TC can have an aesthetic, but,
like any crafts', it has to be based on function to be any use.

--
Bruce Byfield, Outlaw Communications
Vancouver, BC, Canada
(604) 421-7189 or 687-2133
bbyfield -at- axionet or bruce -at- dataphile-ca -dot- com
www.outlawcommunications.com (updated 1 May , 1998)

"Yours is the open road,
The bitter song, the heavy load
That I'll never share
Though the offer's still there,
Every time you turn around."
- Stan Rogers




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