Tuesday, September 20, 2005

From Kottke.org

As part of his review of the recent AIGA conference, Kottke offers up the following quoted bon mot:

As part of the conference within a conference for students, Michael Bierut listed 20 courses he did not take in design school (I think I got all of them):

Contemporary Performance Art
Traffic Engineering
The Changing Global Financial Marketplace
Urban planning
Sex Education
Early Childhood Development
Economics of Commerical Aviation
Biography as History
Introduction to Horticulture
Sports Marketing in Modern Media
Modern Architecture
The 1960s: Culture and Conflict
20th Century American Theater
Philanthropy and Social Progress
Fashion Merchandising
Studies in Popular Culture
Building Systems Engineering
Geopolitics, Military Conflict, and the Cultural Divide
Political Science: Electoral Politics and the Crisis of Democracy

His point was that design is just one part of the job. In order to do great work, you need to know what your client does. How do you design for new moms if you don't know anything about raising children? Not very well, that's how. When I was a designer, my approach was to treat the client's knowledge of their business as my biggest asset...the more I could get them to tell me about what their product or service did and the people it served (and then talk to those people, etc.), the better it was for the finished product. Clients who didn't have time to talk, weren't genuinely engaged in their company's business, or who I couldn't get to open up usually didn't get my best work.

Bierut's other main point is, wow, look at all this cool stuff you get to learn about as a designer. If you're a curious person, you could do worse than to choose design as a profession.