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MTAA-RR » news » twhid » what chris fahey learned in art school:

Oct 17, 2007

What Chris Fahey learned in art school

posted at 13:31 GMT by T.Whid in /news/twhid

Chris Fahey has an interesting post up today about how designers think as opposed to non-designers/business people. His site seems to be down right now so I’ll post his bullet points below:
Without further ado: In art school, I learned:
  • How to champion and defend my ideas.
  • How to distinguish between personal and professional critique.
  • How to respectfully and constructively critique my peers. How to attack the ideas of my colleagues and still have drinks with them that same night (and maybe even sleep with them — hey, it is art school)
  • How to test drive a hundred different ideas through sketching, cobbling, and envisioning them, before finally settling on which one to go ahead and build.
  • How to tell when I am done a project that could just as easily be improved endlessly.
  • How to tell when an idea that is precious to me is actually holding me back. And then to feel good about throwing it away.
  • How to have the confidence to present my ideas in public without fearing that they will be stolen. And how to take it in stride when they inevitably are.
  • How to distinguish between taste, technical skill, and empirical efficiency.
  • How to detect bullshit, and to avoid generating it myself (note that not all art school grads learn this).
  • How to go the extra mile to make something high-quality.
  • How to recognize talent in my peers.
  • How to collaborate with my colleagues effectively to reach a common goal.
  • How to be deeply competitive without being a dick.
  • How to make something new just for the sake of being new.
  • How to build off of, and give credit to, the ideas of my predecessors both contemporary and in history.
  • How to save ideas that I’m not ready for and keep them for future use (usually in sketchbooks).
  • How to start all over again from the beginning.
  • How to teach all of the above.

That’s a long list but I think he left off the most important thing that one learns in art school: how to see.

I’ve worked very hard to be able to take in and understand lots of visual information very quickly. It’s a skill that can be learned, but it takes a lot of work. Usually a couple of years worth of work. The one great problem I’ve had to overcome in working as a designer in my day job is how to talk to people about things when I know they are seeing only a small percentage of what I’m seeing in a visual design. (Of course this may be a symptom of my astounding arrogance and I could just be one of those petulant, prima donna, full-of-shit artist/designers.)

Of course Chris is talking about thinking, but the input one gets from one’s eyes will inform almost all of the bullet points above. permanent link to this post

MTAA-RR » news » twhid » what chris fahey learned in art school

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