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sg1 poke

Ruminations on careers

I spent 4 hours yesterday trying to teach a laid-off technical writer the ins and outs of web design. This woman has guts trying to change careers from writing specifications for military hardware (an anal retentive pursuit if there ever was one) to being a webmaster. She had no clue about the internet, web sites, or even what a kilobyte was. This got me thinking: with such an easy entry every tom, dick, and harry tries to produce a career as a writer/editor/designer and this clogs the employment situation because these folks lower the price since they are willing to work practically for free. Hense, employers are paying less and less for more and more. My fees have halved in the past couple months. In addition, I've noticed that more and more folks that I am teaching (retirees, job reentry housewives, and so forth) take desktop publishing classes and web design clases thinking they can break into this field with a few classes and without formal commercial art or writing experience. It is both a shame for them and terror for me. With software from Microsoft so available and so banal anyone feels that with a copy of Publisher or Frontpage in hand they can become famous. I just shudder and watch and continue trying to teach them rudiments of design theory and argue with them about why proprietary software and rigid wizards do not a designer or writer make.

I'll climb down from the soap box now.

On a happy note, we get Luna today. I put up pictures for anyone who cares.


I get that all the time. Someone gets a copy of InDesign or Quark Xpress and voila... they think they're a graphic designer. Ask them about stock or line screens or even RGB and CMYK and they start to panic. Ask them about DESIGN and they glaze over. 'Isn't that putting text in boxes?' they say.

I studied long and hard to be the best I could in this industry. It seems that no-one values the skills and experience that it takes designers literally years to acquire. After six years I'm still learning, so why are they instant experts? And the thing I hate the most is that people always underestimate the abillity to conceptualise. It seems to have no value placed on it at all.

Sorry, but you've touched on one of my ranting points.
Kixxa--we are in complete agreement. I didn't spend 10 years studying fine arts and 15 years as a desktop publisher before turning to web design to run into these folks who I now teach who think that, yes text in boxes is design. And, my pet peeve is that this is muddying the freelance market for those who know what they are doing. The entry point is so low today that we are paid squat for our conceptualizing and design portion of a layout job. Sigh. So rant away, I'm over here right with you.

I keep studying new techniques too--the learning is part of my job. Teaching that experience is an interesting passtime. So, again I hear ya. Hang in there.
Right on, sister!!

Ages ago, I showed my mum a printed publication I was particularly proud of. She looked through it and then said, 'It's lovely, but what did *you* do?'

I feel for you both. I'm in no way a designer, took a couple of art courses in college and that's it. I would never presume to tell a professional how to do their job - that's what they studied, that's what they know, and that's why I'm asking for their help!
Kixxa, when you talk about a printed publicaton, you're including the layout of articles and advertisements, the colors to use, the original cover art, etc., the whole ball of wax? That's pretty impressive to me, even if your mom didn't quite get it.

Both of you hang in there. Even if the world-at-large doesn't appreciate your skills, you know what you've got, and you are the ones who count.
Thanks Kerne, you're very sweet! I stuck with print publication because I love to hold the finished art in my hand, (I've got a thing about paper) and you can have more freedom in design than you can have if you design for the web.

Yeah, a print publication is the *whole* thing. From choice of paper stock, cover stock, how it's bound, what colours to use, what fonts to use, typography, coming up with a cohesive design concept that works, then laying it out, to varnish or not to varnish, die-cuts, embellishments... the list goes on. You also have to be nice to your printer and not throw him any curve balls. So you have to know that what you've produced is not going to cause problems when it goes to film and press. This is why people who think they're instant designers ick me. *growls in a menacing fashion*
Why is it that designers have a thing for paper... hmmmm? I do too and so does a dear friend who has a thriving design business. Must be its smooth and shiny nature or rough..never mind. *g* Kerne, Kixxa has it right on the money. Being a desktop publisher or managing editor, or production editor or any of the myriad editorships that deal in getting written words and images into print must not only be a manager or people--keeping not only printers but authors and graphics folks happy and satisfied; but also have a great eye for communicating, and a problem-solver extraordinaire. So anybody who says that because they have Publisher and a computer they are a designer is smoking something. I answer Kixxa's growl and raise her one web design pill--yes you are right web work is less flexible, yet just as satisfying because it too must solve problems using slight of hand and good communications skills--both on the screen and with people.

Hope everyone is feeling better.

Love ya,
Rita (ixchup)
{{hugs Rita}}
{{hugs Kerne}}
much love guys.
Thank you Kerne for your vote of confidence. that means a lot coming from somebody as talented as you. Yup, taught my lady again yesterday. I still don't think somebody can easily jump from military specification writing to web design. But, it is her money and my time.