it's all very well to talk about design as problem solving, but it's hard to think with your hands if you don't get some real dirt on them.
I completely agree with your comment.
Although it has nothing to do with Kazmer.
Allan Kazmer was going to retire at the end of the semester anyway and I like my degree fine. The student uprising that sparked his and the chair of advertising's throwing in the towel was about us not wanting to do a thesis. It had nothing to do with lack of studio time because of our degrees. I had enough time to take art courses, but it was the college who wouldn't let me.
I think Kazmer just wanted to make a point and used the situation in an opportunistic way.
(sorry for off-topic-ness)
Well, I'm only familiar with the situation through his comments, so thanks for the broader perspective.
The academicization of art education is a general phenomenon, and a sad trend at that -- it's the rock to software training's hard place. Erik van Blokland has the right idea -- make your own tools!
"it’s all very well to talk about design as problem solving, but it’s hard to think with your hands if you don’t get some real dirt on them."
I agree 100%. That said, I don't think tuition is best spent on teaching HOW to get your hands dirty, but, rather, it should teach the REASONS to get your hands dirty.
Perhaps a poor analogy, but if I was going to 'landscapers' school, I don't want to spend tuition and classtime on 'learning to use a shovel 101' but would prefer 'landscape planting and maintenance 101'. I can figure the shovel out by default while learning about the latter.
I am a student at a design university, and I think it's really interesting what everyone considers important in their experience. I have teachers who have worked with print their entire career, and others who have only done web design. Everyone brings their own perspective, and it is the student's responsibility to ensure that they are taking what they learn, from all of their classes and applying it to all of their projects.
I think that it is more based on the quality of the student than of the school. Some students refuse to sketch ideas. They just refuse. With out that step, the finished product is "done" on the first attempt and they are resistant to change. And it doesn't look as wonderful as those with real concepts behind/ supporting them.
But I do have some questions for you- What is ink density? Is there an answer other than the ratio of chemical to water in the production process of ink? Because that's all that I can think of. Is there an ideal density for production? And how much does it vary based on the material that you are printing on? Are there any sort of general standards?
> What is ink density?
My print experience isn't equal to that of others in here, but my understanding of ink density is the total value of ink that a CMYK image will have. 230% rings a bell as a common maximum ... which means that the total percentage of the four inks should not exceed that amount. It is press dependent, and too much ink will result in a crappy look.
In the old days things like GCR (grey component removal) and UCR (undercolor replacement ... or have I mixed up the Rs?) were used by prepress people to get the ink levels down. Now the artist has to be the prepress person. (And I'm not sure if you can access UCR and GCR in all DTP programs ... it is in Photoshop somewhere.)
"It is press dependent, and too much ink will result in a crappy look."
Also depends on the paper, how absorbent, how white, how opaque. If the paper is very slick and not absorbent then it's desirable to reduce ink density, so it will dry in a reasonable time. GCR (gray component replacement) can reduce the total ink density while maintaining correct tones.
Patty, I still use Freehand, but only when I have to. It has a very strong foothold here in Finland, it was practically THE all-purpose application for years. I've even seen annual reports done completely with Freehand. I have a client who has hundreds of regularily updated packaging designs stored, all done in Freehand (Mac). I did a design for them recently and asked if I could use Illustrator, but apparently that's a no-no. I don't know what they're going to do when their old PowerPC Macs need upgrading into Intel Macs and the old friend Freehand doesn't work anymore.
I started with Illustrator, but since Freehand was so popular here, switched over to it in early 90's. Then it was PageMaker and Freehand until InDesign came along – QuarkXpress was the expensive and less common option here. The final initative for me to get to know Illustrator again was the Adobe-Macromedia deal and the knowledge that Freehand will be forgotten soon.
I'd like to add, that one thing I really dislike in Freehand is that it doesn't support OT fonts. One gets spoiled with CS2.
> What is ink density?
In cmyk it is the total of the 4 inks. In grayscale it is the blackness of the black for lack of a better description.
It is also known as DMAX, TAC (total area coverage), Total Ink.
In glossy magazines it is almost always 300%.
In newsprint it ranges from 220%-240%. Usually.
So the default black in Photoshop if you are using SWOP (v2) in your colorspace it will be:
Add them together you get 300% since the ink density max in that profile is 300%.
It's a crappy black mixture but that is another topic.
It becomes critical in newsprint. The way to get there is color management.
To check it I set the second color readout in the Info Palette in PS to Total Ink. Running almost any tool then will give you the density in any given section.
Different media can accept different amounts of ink basically. If you short something you're not getting as much as you can from a print job - if you put too much ink you'll end up with a pile of mud. If you learn how to use color management and profiles printing quality stuff will be a lot easier.
It pays to learn some of this production stuff. More and more companies are cracking down on designers to learn this so they don't have to hire color correctors, separators, etc…
The independent font producers might be wise to collaborate on a $99 package with 100 or more quality indie fonts. Then a school can make that a requirement, perhaps for second year students, who will be ready to expand their typographic horizons a bit.
This has been brought up previously; the big problem is getting someone to herd the cats into agreeing on a EULA. Still, it’s something I intend to pursue eventually—either this summer if my workload is light, after graduation otherwise.
Quote: "Now the artist has to be the prepress person."
Progress is our friend here. Adobe's new Print Engine technology will take care of that. Using an all RGB-workflow and the new PDF-definition will place all of the responsibility for plate and print back where it belongs: in the press room.
Exactly why I like book publishing - even when they've decided the Art Director's position is dispensible they always have a staff production person. I've picked up a lot of useful production info over the years and certainly know how to set up a file, but when I have a client who asks/expects me to do that part of the job I automatically double my fee hoping to scare them off. Or at least bleed them dry.
Thank you for all of your thoughtful comments.
I agree that teaching underlying design principles is critical, but I do not think that devalues the teaching of the current digital tools of the trade. I require my Type I students to do concept development with pencil and paper. We spend a lot of time learning to draw type by hand, analyzing thumbnails and roughs, before going to the computer lab for production.
In my more software-oriented Desktop Publishing class, I integrate teaching software features with design principles and practices. Examples: setting up a well-constructed grid on a Master Page or using Style Sheets and Baseline Grid to teach the importance of consistent formatting.
I am happy if my beginners learn typographic measurement, terminology and can classify type into the major historical groups. If they can recognise Baskerville, they will be able to work with Mrs. Eaves when the time comes. With a little luck they will learn to see like artists, with even more luck, some of my love for the Roman alphabet will rub off.
The employment ads on the Creative Hotlist make interesting reading. We have limited time with our students, but the bar for entry into the better design jobs continues to be raised. We are teaching a new generation, more oriented to Google and MySpace than reading newspapers or textbooks.
Back to the original question, I often remind myself that we have more typefaces available to us than ever in the history of printing. The typographers of the past managed to do stellar work with whatever lead type was available. They could scarcely have imagined the riches we take for granted in our font menus.
Bonnie - totally agree with you. What good are principles if you can't execute them?
Patty - my stuff goes into hundreds of publications in America and Canada. There is no way I can have a relationship with all the different printers so I had to get good at establishing medians for different media. I have to know things like quarter tones will slaughter you in newsprint.
I enjoy this part, an endless slog but pleasantly arcane.
And bert - I hope you're right but the promised land has been discovered before - it was called color management and all it did was confuse most people. It's a messy affair.
I have a feeling it will just get more complicated.