Thursday, July 29, 2010

Designers Don't Read

Fortunately for Austin Howe, this is just the title of his book and not a statement of truth.
I took a speed-reading class in middle school. (Yes, really.) Regardless, it is hard for this designer to find time to read. And when I do, I want to read something good. Something with lasting power. Something worth remembering and sharing.  Something like what Austin Howe has compiled in Designers Don't Read. It's crisp, audacious and stirring.

Earlier this week I serendipitously jumped into a project that Austin Howe had previously worked on and came home to find his book had been plonked through my mail slot. I know. Bizarre. Howe bizarre, to be precise. Through these two very unrelated but ultimately very related events, Howe's legendary skill and insight has swooped into my life.

Designers Don't Read is written with the premise that designers are busy (Amen!) and need bite-size inspiration (double Amen!). Howe's gone so far as to indicate the approximate amount of time it will take one to read each essay-slash-chapter.

I nested down vowing to read only the first chapter that night and savor the remainder over time. Then I blinked and was on page sixty-six. I have a feeling that my speed-reading skills aren't at all the reason I blasted through those pages quickly.

Howe's written such compelling, digestible content. I've already scribbled all over on the pages connecting the dots between so many half-thoughts I've had that he's fully articulated.

"So, I guess my encouragement to smart, strategic, ambitious 'graphic designers' is this: stop thinking of yourself as a 'graphic designer' because if you are smart, strategic and ambitious, you are most definitely designing more than 'graphics.' You are not just a 'creative problem solver.' either, although that is no doubt a job requirement…

"Think bigger. Broader. Wider. Higher. Refuse to be thought of as a decorator, or worse, as a production artist - someone whose job it is to take someone else's ideas and make them look good."

"Designers are not decorators; they are problem solvers. And it takes brains to solve problems, not just taste."

This stuff is literary tonic for the languishing designer's soul.

1 comment:

  1. Just added this to my summer reading list. As a designer, I will probably never finish the list. :)