Mac training does not make you a good designer

There are, I’m sure, many reasons why student contact with Apple Macs is limited. One is obvious – the sheer numbers of students dictate that financially, colleges are never going to be able to provide the access that everyone, apparently, so desperately craves.

Another is more fundamental. Design courses are a means of developing creativity and exploring possibilities. Of teaching the do’s and don’ts, of exposing students to the work of different designers from a varied range of disciplines, of nurturing talent and encouraging flair and technique. The Apple Mac is the one tool at a designer’s disposal that can eliminate all of the above and reduce design to a dirge of mediocre, badly executed ideas, with a bevel here and a drop shadow there.

Gillian Gutman (Letters, DW 12 November) seems to be suggesting that denying students access to Macs puts them at a disadvantage.

From the point of view of future employment she may have a point. The design industry is, after all, obsessed with “must have three years experience and be fluent in…”

We know that already, but concentrating on computer skills rather than design skills would be a very dangerous route to go down and would, I fear, have a long lasting, detrimental effect on the future of design.

Of course, it is a fantastic tool, and an intrinsic part of the industry, but it is just a tool and more emphasis should be placed on good ideas and good design. Let the artworkers worry about key commands!

Stewart Graham

Nottingham NG1 5EP

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