It’s time to stop teaching Web skills like it’s still 1999

In response to Lynda Relph-Knight’s editorial on the demise of craft skills and typography in college curricula (Comment, DW 7 April), I would add that the situation in Web design is even more acute. In many multimedia and Web-specific courses, there seems to be very little taught in the way of core graphic design skills and typography rarely gets a look-in. In fact, the underpinning technologies of HTML, CSS and Java Script, of which every Web designer should have a good grasp, seem to be taught like it’s still 1999.

Most of the Web comprises text-based sites, so typography should be at the heart of every course. What’s more, with the advent of Web font services enabling Web designers to choose from thousands of fonts (just like our print design cousins), a fundamental understanding of how type works becomes more important still.

It is our sad experience from interviewing that the best candidates are those who have spent all their free time teaching themselves from books and blogs, rather than those who have spent three years at college. There are exceptions, and the Wasp Interact Curriculum (interact.webstandards.org) is going some way to provide an industry-driven framework for all future courses.

Web design is a fast-moving industry. By its nature higher education will always be – at the very best – one year behind. This means it is crucial that the fundamental skills of the craft are taught: the basics and core principles, which provide a solid foundation for a career.

Richard Rutter, Co-founder, Fontdeck.com, by e-mail

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