Post-Digital Aesthetics make a welcome return

I’ve been speaking at events for a long time, in fact I can’t believe how long, after fifteen years now I’m classed as an industry veteran! (I’m not sure whether to be happy or sad about that one!). It’s been great to be in this position as I’ve seen the industry develop both technically and in terms of design. I’m happy to say that I’m beginning to notice a change. We are now entering a new age where technique is gradually becoming less prevalent – aesthetics and messaging are being rediscovered as the most important aspect of our work as designers. My friend, Birgitta Hosea (now a Doctor of animation!) has coined a new term to mark this era, “the post-digital aesthetic age”.

During most of my career as a motion graphic designer I’ve witnessed so many projects that are led by technique or by the latest “how cool is that” type-of-effect.  “How did they do that?” is all fine and dandy for your average man in the street, or for those concerned with visual effects or the more technical aspects of production. But for artists, designers, philosophers thinkers and appreciators of fine art it and design, I’m afraid it just doesn’t cut it every time. We like substance as well as style. Why did they do that is just as important as how, please don’t let us forget the saying “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!”

I’m going to be teaching on the Graphic Design and Illustration courses at Brighton University this year and am so excited to be going back into an academic environment. Of course I’ll be teaching digital software techniques, I’m there to provide guidance to the students from the perspective of a motion graphic designer. But I’m also looking forward to emphasising to them the importance of the core design skills they’ll need to set themselves apart as artists and communicators. I’d love to hear the views of others on this subject. How do you ensure that the technical aspects of your work as a designer/ illustrator/ artist don’t dictate the content or quality of your work? Answers on a well thought out and constructed postcard please! 🙂

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