Is the ability to design a talent that we’re born with or is it a skill that’s learned? Designers such as David Carson have changed traditional design by his constant experimentation with typography and images – and his ability to innovate must certainly come from an internal creativity. Web Designer Kirsten Richardson also supports this theory pointing out that while the general population is constantly bombarded with messages and images – not everyone is an expert from exposure alone.
The fact is that great designer understand the basics and have studied the work of others. Such training allows for great designers to add something of their own to the design of their heroes. Quoting the Dalai Lama, “Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.”
But the debate boils down to this – at the very core of every designer is a vision and drive to create great design. The most successful designers bring innovation to the table while learning from failure of their own and others.
This quote from Ira Glass best exemplifies the deliberate convergence of knowledge and talent:
“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me — is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap; for the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work… It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”