I need your help. The D&AD have asked me to talk to some tutors about the future of graphic design next week. Which is lucky because I'd been thinking about it at the weekend.
Obviously I don't have all the answers, so I want you to help me out. Here's what I've started to jot down. What do you think? Is it bollocks? Would you add anything else? I know you lot can be a bit shy - don't be. Leave comments, thanks.
Things you'll have to do if you want to be a graphic designer.
Everyone is talking about content these days, from ad agencies to brands. In fact they've been talking about it for ages and it's starting to filter down to graphic designers. Communication is beginning to look less like sales pitches and more like stories, so you're going to have to learn how to create great content. Or at least where to find it.
Present passion not perfection.
20 years of Mac means we've lost a lot of energy from graphic design, so let's try and get it back. Turn the computer off, get up from the desk, draw, sketch, make roughs, present your roughs. Always remember a sketch sells an idea better than a finished visual, because the client uses their imagination to buy into the idea. We recently did a whole presentation on post it notes. Present passion not perfection.
Great usability is the ultimate in good design. This is so obvious, but we're only just starting to talk about it. There are so many examples around us everyday, the Underground map, the BBC News website, almost all Apple products. As David Ogilvy said, "You can't save souls in an empty church".
Graphic designers can't operate in a vacuum any more. Gone are the days when you could sit in your room creating beautiful layouts in wonderful isolation. Everyone has a say, and design is better for that. So collaborate; meet illustrators, ad agencies and film makers. Make friends with a copy writer. Visit an architect. Listen to product designers. All these people will add another dimension to your work.
Realise that design is the new management consultancy.
An odd one this, but it's an idea that's starting to get a lot of airtime. Who better have an impact on a business than the problem solvers? The ones who can generate ideas from a blank sheet of paper? The ones who create new ideas all day, every day. The designers. You'll hear a lot more about this, trust me.
Start up on your own.
Look around at all the designers you admire. I bet all of them have their own studio. The fact is, in this industry if you want to be successful you're going to have to start up on your own. Gulp. I'm not saying you have to have to do a business studies course but bear in mind that one day you might have to read a balance sheet.
Exploit the gap.
There is a hell of a lot of bad design around. Which is good news for you. A gulf has opened up between people who can design and people who can use design software, Exploit that gap.