Mac skills and Macromedia products allow designers to shine

Two recent letters struck a chord (DW 11 June).

I wholeheartedly agree with Andrew Massey – Macromedia products such as Dreamweaver and Flash have liberated designers who want to experiment with new media yet do not choose to become codewriters. For much too long creating for the Web has been the preserve of those who embrace the dark side of HTML, a domain surrounded by mystique and jealously guarded by the IT empire.

In particular, Flash is one of the most groundbreaking, functional and versatile programs we have ever used for both websites and disc-based presentations and communications. It is a welcome antidote to the mass of boring and static HTML sites that abound.

Second, while I can sympathise to a certain extent with Estelle Baylis, like it or not, the Mac has become a fact of life. With the role of the designer having grown to encompass much of the pre-press function, surely he or she needs to become proficient in the use of what is now (as much as a pencil or marker) one of the basic tools of the trade. What good would a carpenter be if they could not use a chisel?

Should not these things be taught as basic part of the design education? Time after time students come to us on work experience lacking even rudimentary knowledge of artwork production or of the four-colour process. What use are ideas if the designer lacks the basic skill to articulate them?

Paul Simmons

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