"Design is, literally, purposeful planning. Graphic Design, then, is the form those plans will take."
Shei gave me "The Cheese Monkeys" for Christmas the first year after we graduated college. It's been one of my favorite books, not just because it reminded me of my experience as a graphic arts student but mainly because it reminded me of my favorite acerbic professor Robert.
He passed away suddenly yesterday. To say he was an influence on me and my class would be an understatement. After having several different types of free-spirited hippy art teachers (nothing wrong with those!), his no nonsense, realities of graphic design approach was frustrating at times; but has been endlessly helpful in swimming the viscous rivers of G.D. jobs that me and several of my classmates ('02) have faced since leaving the Visual Arts Building.
I wanted to share some things I imparted from him - these aren't direct quotes, but it's how I hear them when I'm working.
Robertisms (as I apply them to life day-to-day activities)
- Creativity is OVER-RATED. Take something someone else did and BUILD FROM IT.
- What is THE message?
- Find the "Rules".
- Never use more than two fonts.
- If you use treefrog font, I will fail you. It makes my eyes bleed.
- Avoid using filters. They do not make an already bad design better.
- Don't use screen fonts for print work.
- This is an "A" work. This is a "C". What is the difference here?
- "RIP" (sound made by our last-minute projects peeled off the board)
- No music lyrics or CD covers. You will most likely fund your existence typesetting or making ads.
- Why are you married to this project? Finish it and move ON.
These are just a sampling of the things he left with me, with US.
Us - meaning my classmates, which I'm happy to call colleagues AND friends - 10 years strong.
I'll close with another quote from Professor Sorbeck in the Cheese Monkeys --
"A bazillion years ago, some poor son of a bitch Cro-Magnon scratched a drawing of a buffalo onto the wall of his cave. He didn't do it because his muse had called to him, or to explore the texture of bauxite, or to start the neoprimitive-expressionist movement. He did it because he killed a goddamn buffalo and he wanted someone else to know about it, after he was gone. He had a specific, definable purpose for making a piece of visual information. The first one."
THANK YOU ROBERT - for leaving us a with definable purpose. A first one.
With eternal gratitude - Leslie P. - Class of 2002.