So hard work and enthusiasm should be enough to be a ‘successful creative’ and get you where you want to be? (Letters, DW 18 March.)
I’m glad Jonathan Whiteoak didn’t say graphic designer. I could have saved years of wasted time and money on all that typography crap, blah-blah colour stuff, grid-y foundations, icon system-a-thingies, and antiquated mentors spouting irrelevant experience and insight. Armed with my hard work ethic and enthusiasm I could have done away with that tiresome theory, application and craft part, bought a couple of books from Magma and become a successful graphic designer years sooner than my university-chained peers. Let’s hope that engineers and doctors don’t also want to pack in the education part and just work hard too.
True, no one’s going to die from a dumbed-down design industry, but if we don’t accept responsibility for a minimum level of education, mentoring and self- regulation, who will? There will always be exceptional individuals who are propelled by their own vision and creativity – but like true leaders in other areas, they are few and far between.
If you are lucky enough to meet one, listen and learn. For the rest of the pack, a more structured path gives an acknowledged level of education in an industry that must maintain standards that are recognised as valuable and credible. The best, and sometimes most successful designers are creative, independent thinkers, and masterful at their craft – neither of which are guaranteed from university – but it’s a good place to start.