Creativity is about more than mastery of the Mac

Ah yes, those were the days – Cow gum, Letraset, French curves, markers and ellipse guides. Paste-up artwork and putty rubbers. Hot-metal typesetting proofs, scamp visuals and studio banter.

Radio Caroline and Player’s No 6 cigarette stubs in ashtrays the size of dinner plates.

Michael Peters’ feature A lost world (DW 26 March) and Michael Wolff’s response to it (Letters, DW 30 April) bring back memories of my early career as a technical illustrator and graphic designer in a technical publications agency. And they reinforce the fact that we’re now ruled by new technology, the biggest double-sided coin ever.

We can manipulate images, texts and effects in a way unimagined a few short years ago. We can obtain previously inaccessible facts on the Internet in a trice. And we can e-mail someone in Timbuktu in a millisecond. But we are most definitely losing the ability to communicate in the true sense of the word. The hypnotic pull of the Apple Mac screen, and the almost intimate relationship which people have with it, is seriously compromising the ability of people to listen, observe, retain facts and detail, and transmit information verbally, person to person. And it’s diluting the spontaneity that is such an essential ingredient of the creative design process. In partnership with 2am Design, I enjoy working with and inspiring younger Macbased creatives to appreciate that the best ideas and inspirations start with the fluid relationship between brain, eye, hand, pen and paper before the concept hits the mouse.

It’s vital that we understand the need to dovetail the immediacy of traditional methods with the massive potential of modern technology to deliver the most effective creative solutions. I guess it’s people like myself, in the cross-over generation, who have the challenging and exciting responsibility to ensure that this happens.

John Bailie, Creative director, Silver Fox Creative, Wesham, Preston


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