Bury your head in the sand and you’ll drown

Judging by his article, Peter Hall would have been right up there with his ox-plough, smashing the new-fangled machinery heralding the industrial revolution (DW 31 March). His suggestion that designers should disconnect from the wired world has very clear parallels with the thoughts of the Luddites of the early 19th century.

The fact that there is a “techno-frenzy” out there, and in that I agree with him, does not mean we should run away and hide. There is only one answer to the question “what do you do if your client wants a 50Mb artwork file via modem…?” Get a modem. Twenty years ago somebody was probably suggesting that we must avoid computers and stick to the good old drawing board. Sophisticated clients have sophisticated expectations and it is our ability to exceed these expectations that encourages them to return. The world of multimedia, and the task of making it accessible to people through careful design, is a natural extension of what designers have always been doing.

Succeeding in this new world is about new tools certainly, but a strong knowledge of new fields and new skills should be seen as being “as well as…” not “instead of…” the intelligent articulation of visual ideas. We must cross or break boundaries down, not pull them up around ourselves.

All professions must adapt, especially the innovative and creative professions, or Peter Hall’s suggestion that somebody else might start designing will happen. Designers “simply being good at their trade” means being at the forefront, not sticking to turning the field by hand while somebody else roars along the fibre optic buried beneath it.

Keith Kirby

London N19

Latest articles