Outsider Thinking

Writing

Writing (Photo credit: jjpacres)

I still make excuses for not writing posts on this blog.  Too tired, can’t think of what to say.  It’ll take too long to write, I’ll do it later.

I’ve found though that there is a problem deeper than that.  It’s a common feeling that you don’t deserve to be doing whatever you’re trying to do whether it be writing blogs, books, photography, graphic design, music or making hats.  It’s a kind of outsider thinking – that because you didn’t go to college or university to learn it, because you’re not a professional then you’re just playing, that you’re not part of the group, you’re not a writer or photographer.  It doesn’t matter how many people say that what you do is good the feeling that you shouldn’t be doing it persists, particularly when there are people around who do confirm your beliefs with words like “it’s just a hobby” like your creations can only have value to yourself.  You could even end up doing these things at work for free because you don’t feel your skills are worth any financial reward.

It leads you to read the work of published writers and journalists and so on and think I’m not as good as them.  There are some professions that require professional training but many that don’t, there are many writers and photographers who are entirely self-taught.

You’ll know, or discover whether you are good at what you’re doing the important thing is to not let the outsider thinking prevent you from learning and trying, or valuing what you create.

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Why WordArt Must Die

It’s no good, I can’t take it any more, I can’t bear the sight of one more rainbow coloured 3D abomination sprawled across the top of an advert or email like the vomit of some hideous creature.  I can’t hold back the need to scream when someone says, full of pride “oh, you design adverts, have a look at my business card, what do you think of that?  I did it myself in Word, look it has 3D text!”

Please, for the love of all that is good and pure in graphic design, please Microsoft remove this feature, beloved of those who want to do their own ads or business cards on the cheap (or don’t know anyone who’ll knock up something on the side), from your otherwise excellent products.

It goes like this, someone buys a computer for their business, gets Office, plays around with it and sees this WordArt thing and, being inexperienced in design, goes overboard with the “special effects” and slap on some clip art for good measure.  They may think it looks bold and distinctive but tends to look cheap.  Good design should look good and be functional, there are guidelines that help publications stand out, look professional and be readable or informative.  Not using too many fonts is one, not using WordArt is another.

Yes it’s perhaps fun to use for a local fete or notice board item advertising your next company bowling night but on anything intended to make a business look professional it just looks unprofessional, customers can infer that little effort and expense was put into it.  In many ways WordArt is like many tools – a well-intentioned piece of software misued horribly.

Keep the wizards – they can guide people to a nice piece of artwork, hell even I’m using a template for this blog myself because I’m an old-fashioned paper layout designer and haven’t got to grips with coding websites – but ditch the WordArt – take it out back of the Campus, where you took old Clippy, and put it out of its misery.  Please.