The Professional Practice of Design
Working on Spec? – sound advice from 1971
I’ve been sorting out the books in the studio again. Just trying to make a bit of space. I came across The Professional Practice of Design by Dorothy Goslett. Designed by Dieter Hall of Design Research Unit and printed by Willmer Brothers in Birkenhead for Batsford in 1971.
I took the book home to re-read it out of curiosity more than anything else. Although the content is clearly out of date it does remain full of practical advice for any young designer, despite the ‘old fashioned’ style.
In the Chapter: Finding Clients I came across a very interesting passage from Clause 6 of the SIAD (Now Chartered Society of Designers) Code of Conduct:
“A member shall not undertake any work at the invitation of a client or employer without payment of an appropriate fee. A member may however undertake work without a fee or at reduced rate for charitable or non-profit-making organizations”.
Goslett herself goes on to add. “… I should like to be able to say that working on spec is something you should never do. But to a beginner searching for jobs there could be circumstances which offered irresistible temptations. If the client offering the temptations were as honest as he should be, he would not do it because he is blatantly taking advantage of your inexperience, lack of reputation and need for work…”
I thought her words offered sound advice and support both for the growing ‘No Spec‘ attitude among design professionals, but also relating in many ways to the internship debate recently discussed in this blog and others.
Life without the net
If anyone tuned in on Friday for ‘Thought for Friday’ I’m sorry I didn’t post. It wasn’t that I didn’t have a thought, it’s just that I was away from home and was somewhere with no internet access. No browsing, blogging, facebooking or twittering. Life without the net.
It gave me the idea for this post. What do I miss most when I’m without the net? I have to admit I was very busy and didn’t have lot of time anyway.
I know a few people, younger than me, who say they can’t live without Facebook or Twitter etc and having access via their expensive mobile phones means they are almost never without their ‘fix’. My phone is a humble affair and internet browsing is beyond it’s simple design. So, being away from my laptop, what did I really miss the most?
After giving it some thought,I felt that Facebook and Twitter could be left for while and my news fix arrived via BBC News 24. I knew my email would be building up but it was just for a few days and I could catch up. I had little time to write, so researching via Google or Wikipedia wasn’t an issue. No I was fine without all of this for a while.
I realised (with some surprise) that what I really missed was catching up on the blogs I follow and I was itching to post something on my own. So I guess this is becoming a little addictive.
My question to anyone out there is what would you miss the most without the net?
Let’s get something straight from the start. I love books. Books are wonderful things and printed books will (I hope) always be around.
But here’s the problem. I have too many books, way too many. Oh, I’ve tried to get the numbers down. Many, some well-loved, have gone to charity shops, a few to friends who wanted them, but still my bookshelves at home groan under the weight. I needed a solution.
I have to hand it to Amazon, love ’em or loath ’em, they really do make it so easy to find and buy things from their site. After looking around at eReaders for while I went for the Kindle. (My bookshelves gave an audible sigh of relief).
I liked the bar code design, nice touch
The box arrived via courier and after zipping it open (literally), the contents revealed instructions, the Kindle and cable.
Simple start-up guide
I plugged the device in and as if by magic, after the second or two it took to boot-up, there was my personal welcome message. The Kindle had already been set up with my account. I told you these guys were good at selling you stuff. No manuals, no complex interface. A few minutes after booting up you can download your first book and when you do it only takes a moment.
OK the Kindle is no iPad in looks department but it is functional and appears robust. The screen has no reflections and the type clear. They really have made an effort to create a paper-like appearance and the font is very legible.
Kindle in the Dura Gadget case
If first impressions count, it looks as though the Kindle and I are going to get on fine. I’ll let you know.
Work for free flowchart
Internships, or can working for free ever be a good thing?
Recently, over on David’s blog, Alix (guest blogger) raised the interesting subject of unpaid internships in the design industry. This excellent post produced a number of comments, among them one from David Airey who covered the subject in his own blog. His experience was a good one and I urge you read his post.
It’s the trade-off between the experience gained and the amount of their time (and talent) the intern gives that makes this subject such a difficult one.
Perhaps the design industry as whole should take the subject of unpaid internships more seriously. The agreement between the design firm and the student works fine when the both parties treat each other with respect and behave professionally. But there’s another issue. With rising student debt levels and the lack of suitable jobs to help students supplement their income while working for free in a design agency, are we as an industry satisfied that only the more affluent students will be able to take up any places on offer?
A brilliant and amusing flowchart over on Swissmiss by Jessica Hische gives some valuable guidance to anyone considering an internship.
(Written using OmmWriter Beta version)
A sneak peek at the new site
I do hope everyone had a fine Christmas and new year break, despite the weather conditions here in the UK at the time. I’ve neglected this little blog of mine lately and I apologise but we, (that’s Gina and myself), have been very busy preparing a new website for our studio (see above) as well as other more mundane things that simply took up most of my time. Our old site needs an overhaul and once I’ve ironed out that last few glitches I’ll upload the shiny new one.
I resolved that I would do something about the lack of posts today and so pen and Moleskin in hand I decided to drop into my favourite coffee bar and bookshop to do a little writing. I love the smell of coffee mixed with the aura of books all around me, it helps me think.
Parked in one of my preferred spots with a ‘flat white’ I opened my note-book ready to write when I overheard a conversation. Now don’t get me wrong here. I don’t normally eavesdrop on my fellow coffee drinkers, in fact I usually like to blank everything out, but the two elderly women sat a few tables away were speaking so loudly I couldn’t help but overhear.
They talked and they talked, but what really stuck in my mind was when one of them said, “I turn the internet on and then off again and can’t do anything in between”. It just made me smile and I wanted to share it.
I guess we and by that I mean professional computer users, take a great deal for granted and though computers and their interfaces have come a long way, for some, they and what they offer, are still largely out of reach.